Cancer center breaks ground
Published 10:47 pm Thursday, September 10, 2015
Bon Secours Virginia Health System has been making some big strides in Suffolk lately.
Along with the opening of a new physical therapy center in downtown Suffolk, the health care provider broke ground at its new cancer center on Thursday. The cancer center is to be located near the Bon Secours Health Center in Harbour View.
“If it doesn’t touch you, it’ll touch someone in your life for sure,” Kevin Barr, chief executive officer of Bon Secours Ambulatory Services, said of the effects of cancer during remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony.
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Based on the company’s findings, gleaned from a community assessment, cancer rates in this area are significantly higher than other areas, Barr said. The Virginia Department of Health found the rate of death due to cancer is 20 percent higher in this part of Hampton Roads than it is in any other part of the United States.
Barr told of his two-month struggle with a mass found on the right side of his face.
“You want someone to care about you,” Barr said. “It’s a vulnerable moment.”
“It’s devastating enough to have the disease,” said Mayor Linda T. Johnson. But those who have been diagnosed with cancer often have to drive to a different building for each appointment, sometimes far away from home. This is one of the reasons Bon Secours is building what it calls a “comprehensive cancer center.”
Within the building, two of the three forms of cancer treatment will be offered, radiation and chemotherapy, said Dr. Bradley Prestidge. He will be working with the linear accelerator, a machine used to help fight cancer, in the new building. “(It) surpasses any place I’ve ever worked before,” Prestidge said.
Along with their medical services, counseling will also be available. This includes support groups, as well as nurse navigators.
“It is a cancer patient’s best friend,” said Lynne Zultanky, a spokeswoman for Bon Secours. Nurse navigators help those who have been diagnosed with cancer figure out what foods they should eat, help find them a financial counselor if money is an issue and also provide moral support, she said.
The third form of cancer treatment, surgery, will continue to be performed at the Bon Secours Health Center at Harbour View location, Zultanky said. Both will be outpatient care centers. Most cancer treatments are administered in an outpatient format, Zultanky said.
Patients receiving surgeries that require an overnight stay will continue to go to Maryview Medical Center in Portsmouth.
The new two-story building will cost about $20 million. It’s expected to open next fall, Zultanky said.