cancer center expansion
This year, St. Francis announced a bold vision for the Upstate: to battle cancer with Faith, Hope and Expertise. Since the announcement, the response from patients, families, physicians and the St. Francis family of staff, volunteers and community supporters has been remarkable.
We have already witnessed extraordinary growth throughout the continuum of care in cancer services: at Upstate Oncology Associates; with our Stem Cell Transplant Unit; in the number of our clinical trials being offered in oncology, and in our St. Francis Infusion Services.
Along with this growth, St. Francis has held our programs to the most rigorous standards of accountability. In addition to earning the American College of Surgeon’s Commission on Cancer award with commendation – one of the only facilities in the state to receive this prestigious award – our Blood and Marrow Transplant Program again received national accreditation from FACT (Foundation for Accreditation Cellular Therapy) with special recognition.
Now we are looking to add new treatments, new clinical trials, and potential new facilities to our already world renowned staff of hematologist/oncologists.
According to the American College of Radiation Oncology, close to one-third of all newly diagnosed cancer patients are referred for radiation therapy. Additionally, 15-25% of oncology patients with current cases receive further radiation during the course of their cancer treatment.
St. Francis has received approval from South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) to proceed with the development of a comprehensive radiation therapy program. Approval of this request is the result of a year-long process of examination and review by SC DHEC.
Central to the development of the Radiation Therapy program will be the addition of state-of-the-industry equipment, including a linear accelerator to deliver this therapy. The addition of this program means that patients receiving cancer care at St. Francis who need radiation therapy no longer have to go outside of St. Francis for their radiation treatment.
“This is another remarkable milestone in our healing ministry for cancer patients,” says Mark Nantz, CEO. “St. Francis has pursued radiation therapy to complete our entire oncology continuum of care. To meet the needs of our community, we have put together an outstanding oncology program from screenings, diagnostics, appropriate treatments or surgery—all the way through home care and survivorship programs.”
The radiation therapy program will be located on the ST. FRANCIS millennium campus in a new, centralized home for all St. Francis outpatient oncology services. This new medical building will house infusion/chemotherapy, oncology medical offices and radiation therapy. Planning and construction of the new medical building is projected to take about a year with costs at approximately $11.9 million.
Providing the same options as leading national cancer centers, St. Francis offers early phase trials for malignancies - sometimes the first human trials for medications. St. Francis is also the only community cancer provider in the country with access to industry trials that are normally offered only to a select group of leading national cancer programs.
An institutional review board of physicians, community members and cancer survivors meets monthly to review research studies available to St. Francis patients. St. Francis currently is involved with multiple clinical trials, about 90 percent of those being cancer related. Clinical trials aimed at preventing cancer also are available to some people who are high risk for developing certain forms of the disease.
Long-range plans at St. Francis call for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art cancer facility at the ST. FRANCIS millennium campus. This facility would include all of our oncology services under one roof, from medical oncology and chemotherapy to infusion services and the proposed radiation therapy program.
The facility is currently in the planning stages, and a Certificate of Need (CON) application is under review at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.