Facility worth its millions

Published 11:18 pm Friday, September 11, 2015

With some of the highest rates of cancer and deaths from cancer in the entire United States, Hampton Roads could surely use all of the help it can get in fighting the dreaded disease.

That’s why it’s good news that Bon Secours has started construction of a new cancer center in Harbour View following Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony.

Nobody is quite sure why Hampton Roads’ cancer rates are so high. Some suspect it may be lack of access to care — physical proximity to care facilities but also the financial ability to afford the many tests, procedures and treatments that come with a cancer diagnosis. Many people who don’t see their doctor regularly, whether due to lack of health insurance or some other reason, may also wait too long to seek a reason for their symptoms and therefore decrease their chances of treatment being successful.


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Bon Secours’ cancer center will be a “good help” to all forms of lack of access.

As Mayor Linda T. Johnson pointed out at Thursday’s groundbreaking, “It’s devastating enough to have the disease.” Adding insult to injury for many patients in Suffolk, Western Tidewater and even bordering counties in North Carolina is the need to travel long distances for treatment, which can be physically and emotionally grueling as well as take a financial toll.

When the new cancer center is operational, patients no longer will have to drive quite so far for their chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Many thousands who live in the North Suffolk area will have this facility practically next door.

And for those patients who have difficulty affording treatments, Bon Secours does not turn away patients for lack of ability to pay. That’s good news for future cancer patients who need assistance.

If only one patient lives past their cancer and is able to see their children graduate high school, to be at their weddings, to play with their grandchildren and to live to a ripe old age, this facility will have been worth the millions Bon Secours is spending to bring it to Suffolk.