Construction initiated on cancer center at Community North Hospital

A rendering of the new Community North Hospital cancer center. (Submitted rendering)

A rendering of the new Community North Hospital cancer center. (Submitted rendering)

By Michelle Williams

Community Health Network broke ground earlier this month on a new $60 million, 104,000-square foot cancer center to provide expanded oncology services. The facility will be connected by walkway to Community Hospital North, allowing immediate access to the full spectrum of medical resources on the north campus. Construction is expected to be complete in early 2017.

“This becomes a home away from home. The convenience and amenities help with the patient’s anxiety and with the comfort for their caregivers,” said Chris Wayne, vice president of oncology services. The new facility is designed to accommodate the patient and caregivers for extended stays of up to four to six weeks or more, even in cases where treatment had typically been provided in an outpatient capacity. Wayne explained that patients who previously sought out state-of-the-art care may have sacrificed convenience.

The organization completes a community health needs assessment every three years, and has identified cancer care as an area of tremendous growth in the next 10 years. “Cancer care is no longer for those who are 65 and older,” Wayne said. “Those living with cancer, and the survivors, are a higher number within the populous than ever before.”

Input for the cancer center came from a diverse team, including some staff members who are cancer survivors. Their integrative healthcare model provides spaces devoted to cancer support groups and exercise, alternative therapies using art, music, tai chi and massage. Additionally, patients will have access to computers for personal use and dedicated spaces for meditation and relaxation.

“It will allow us to enhance our screening capabilities,” Wayne said. An MRI shell and several multidisciplinary clinics are some of the new technologies integrated into the facility that will enhance screening and treatment. “Cancer is no longer the death sentence it once was.”