After 26 years of providing care for people with cancer in the same facility, Sarah Bush Lincoln has plans to build a freestanding cancer center that will offer comfort, privacy and space to its patients.
A Certificate of Need application was filed Dec. 9, 2014 with the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board and it was approved at today’s meeting in Chicago.
The new facility, which will be built on the front lawn of the Sarah Bush Lincoln campus, will span 21,000 square feet and will feature 17 individual chemotherapy areas where people can receive their care in a comfortable space that allows companionship during the treatment.
Regional Cancer Center Medical Director Abdur Shakir, MD, explained the need for more than doubling the space needed to treat cancer. “In the last two years, the number of people seeking care in the Regional Cancer Center has increased by 26 percent. Sadly, that’s expected to increase by about 40 percent over the next 10 years.”
By 2030, one of every two men and one of every three women will receive cancer diagnoses at some point in their lives. In East Central Illinois in 2013, four cancer cases were diagnosed daily. Currently there are 11,000 people living with cancer in Coles and the surrounding counties. At Sarah Bush Lincoln, there are approximately 270 new cancer cases treated annually with more than 5,500 visits.
The proposed facility will provide medical oncology (chemotherapy), radiation therapy, exam rooms and physician work areas, a clinical laboratory for preparing and transferring specimens from the Cancer Center to the hospital’s laboratory, a pharmacy for preparing chemotherapy infusions, shared patient support, educational programs and support groups, cancer resource center and administrative offices.
The additional space will also allow the Regional Cancer Center to be involved in drug trials with the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC), which widens the opportunity for a cure for people with hard-to-treat cancers and allows them more choices, Dr. Shakir said.
“Because of our close affiliation with UIC, we are able to consult with some of the brightest minds in cancer care when we’re faced with particularly difficult cancers. This gives our patients the best available treatments and the greatest opportunity to beat their cancers,” he added.
Nurse navigators will also help guide the care and recovery of people fighting cancer, while providing education and support to patients and their families after the cancer diagnosis and throughout treatments.
The cost of the project is $15.8 million, which includes a new $4 million linear accelerator used to deliver powerful radiation directly and precisely to tumor; and an underground pneumatic tube transport system to quickly send specimens to the hospital laboratory and critical supplies to the cancer center at a cost of $1.1 million. The exterior will feature a drive-up canopied entrance and a healing garden which can be enjoyed from inside in the infusion bays or by siting among the landscaped areas.
Ground will be broken on April 15, and construction is expected to take about 18 months. The facility will serve a 10-county area including, Coles, Clark, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Moultrie, Shelby, Crawford, Effingham and Jasper counties.
For more information, please contact Erica Stollard, Director of Planning, at 258-2106.