Cancer center hearing planned

Published 9:17 pm Monday, March 8, 2010

A public hearing on a proposed cancer center in North Suffolk will be held Tuesday, and Bon Secours Hampton Roads executives are hoping for a favorable response to their plan.

The health system proposes to move its linear accelerator from its Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center campus in Portsmouth to a new facility on its Harbour View campus, said Lynne Zultanky, a spokeswoman for Bon Secours.

A linear accelerator is used to diagnose and treat cancer, Zultanky said.

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The move was proposed by a team of consultants who helped Bon Secours assess its cancer services in the Hampton Roads area, Zultanky said.

“We are ensuring our facilities are located in geographic locations that improve access to patients,” Zultanky said.

If approved, the linear accelerator will go into a larger building that also will include room for additional services for cancer patients, like massage therapy, a library and a meeting room for support groups. The $13.7 million center also will make it easier for multidisciplinary teams to collaborate on patient care, involving radiologists, oncologists, surgeons, primary care physicians and more.

“You can go from a suspicious lesion on your mammogram to whatever your treatment should be much more quickly,” Zultanky said.

A public hearing on the proposed move will be held today at 1 p.m. at Russell Memorial Library, 2808 Taylor Road in Chesapeake. In addition, a separate proposal hopes to move other diagnostic and treatment machines, including a stereotactic radiosurgery system, (SRS) from Maryview to Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center in Norfolk.

“Based on the kinds of patients that are treated in the Norfolk community, SRS would be best if it were at our DePaul campus,” Zultanky said. The SRS machine can more accurately pinpoint the location of a tumor to reduce collateral damage when providing a patient with radiation, Zultanky said.

The public hearing is part of the certificate of public need process, which requires owners and sponsors of medical care facility projects to get a certificate from the state before initiating projects involving diagnostic imaging services and a number of other services. The approval process is designed to help keep costs down and ensure residents have access to care.