The two biggest hospital systems in Fresno have plans for new cancer centers, consolidating services that have been scattered in several locations.
Saint Agnes Medical Center said Thursday it is teaming with California Cancer Associates for Research and Excellence, an independent cancer group, to develop a 65,000-square-foot outpatient cancer center that will be on its hospital campus in northeast Fresno.
In May, Community Medical Centers said its board of trustees had approved architectural design for a 100,000-square-foot regional cancer center for its Clovis Community Medical Center campus, adjacent to Highway 168. The design phase could take up to 10 months. The Community Board of Trustees will need to authorize construction and approve the $65 million project.
Saint Agnes plans to break ground for its new cancer center in October, which will expand and renovate an existing 31,000-square-foot center. The project is expected to be finished in a year to 15 months.
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Our goal with the new facility is to create an atmosphere that’s less clinical and more comforting.
Irene Lustria, cCARE chief operations officer
The new center will be called cCARE at Saint Agnes and will be managed and operated by the California Cancer Associates for Research and Excellence, a private practice of 25 doctors and 10 nurse practitioners. The group now operates a center on East Fir Avenue and another on North Millbrook Avenue, which will be replaced by the new center at Saint Agnes. The doctor’s group will continue to operate in seven locations in the San Diego area.
Both Saint Agnes and Community said in announcing their new cancer centers that there is a need for them and that they will improve the patient experience.
New cancer cases are projected to increase 45 percent nationwide by 2030, said Community spokeswoman Michelle Von Tersch. “It’s clear that the Valley needs its own regional, academic-affiliated cancer center to reduce the need for patients and families to travel elsewhere for care.”
“Our goal with the new facility is to create an atmosphere that’s less clinical and more comforting,” said Irene Lustria, chief operations officer for California Cancer Associates for Research and Excellence. “Plans for the clinic focus on providing a peaceful and soothing ambiance with natural lighting and distinct decor,” she said in a written statement.
New cancer cases are projected to increase 45 percent nationwide by 2030.
The new center at Saint Agnes also will have a laboratory, renovated infusion areas that provide privacy for each patient, a place to get oral cancer medications, expanded radiation oncology suites and two positron emission tomography machines – a type of advanced imaging equipment that doctors use in assessing the location and extent of cancer.
The spacious cancer center will have more square footage than the Fir and Millbrook avenue centers combined, said Troy Simon, CEO of the doctor’s group.
Simon said the new cancer center at Saint Agnes will meet a need in the community. “The expansion is a result of the increasing demand for our services and our desire to enhance the overall patient experience.”
Saint Agnes and the doctor’s group also are considering a small cafe, a boutique for helping patients select wigs and bra prostheses and a small conference room for support groups and workshops.
“Healing body, mind and spirit has been our mission for more than eight decades,” Nancy Hollingsworth, CEO at Saint Agnes, said in a written statement. “Our commitment to providing the very best in cancer care has never wavered, and we are excited to align even more closely with this exceptional group of physicians.”