74.9 F
San Fernando
Monday, Jan 30, 2023
-Advertisement-

Cancer Facility Set to Open

“No one person knows everything,” says Dr. Raul Mena, medical director of Cancer Services at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, whose dream, more than a decade ago, spurred an avalanche of ideas and support that ultimately became what today stands as The Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center. In line with this belief, the first free-standing comprehensive cancer treatment center in the San Fernando Valley – funded entirely by donations at a cost of $37 million – integrates Western and Eastern medicine in its fight against cancer, as it brings together a multitude of specialists and clinical services in a single, four story, 57,000 square foot building. “Cancer is treated by a group of specialists working together – internists, primary care doctors, pathologists, radiologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, medical oncologists, rehabilitation specialists, pain management specialists – it’s a disease that cuts across the variety of areas of medicine,” said Mena, who will oversee the operation of the center when it opens its doors in February. “So to properly care for an individual with cancer all these doctors have to communicate in order to come up with the best treatment for the person in the least toxic mode.” Enhanced by electronic medical records, the highly automated building will facilitate communication between doctors, and free patients from the burden of driving to different locations for tests and treatments. In the same building where patients may see their medical oncologists and receive radiation therapy, they may also take a tai-chi class, get herbal supplements, do group meditation, receive nutrition counseling or acupuncture, have access to social services and spiritual care and shop at the Personal Appearance Center & Specialty Shop for wigs and other products. The Center will issue badges to patients that will allow them to roam about the center freely and be easily summoned for appointments with the help of nurse navigators. The badges will also hold their preferences for music, lighting and videos to be displayed during their chemotherapy treatments, using technology that will be the first of its kind on the West Coast, according to Barry Wolfman, CEO of Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. “It’s amazing, it’s truly state of the art,” said Wolfman, “It’s something that doesn’t exist and is very needed.” Driving the cancer center are the 1.6 million new cancer cases each year, and the projected increase in the number of people who will get cancer as the population ages. “The older we are the higher the cancer risk,” said Mena. The center’s centralized system and seemingly seamless approach to cancer treatment will be enhanced by cutting- edge diagnostics and technology, and more importantly, will allow for expanded and enhanced cancer research and clinical trials, he said. The cancer center will encourage the development of new treatments that are less toxic and more efficient, he said, keeping in mind that while the numbers of people with cancer is rising, the percentage of people that are dying from cancer is decreasing and “the disease is becoming in many ways like a chronic illness that people will be living with for many years.” Already, cancer care services that are now housed at Providence Saint Joseph are producing positive outcomes for cancer patients that are far surpassing national averages when it comes to survival rates. The Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center will also partner with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to treat young adults, and collaborate with other local hospitals to bring needed cancer services to their sites when needed, Mena said. Although operating the cancer center is very expensive, the center is counting on continued philanthropic support. “This was by far our biggest undertaking yet,” said Providence Health Service Foundation president for the Valley service area, Pat Modrzejewski, who led efforts to raise $37 million to build the project. The Roy and Patricia Disney family donated $10 million and other contributions came from local studios, physicians, former patients and the business and philanthropic communities, she said. “There’s no way we would have been able to build something like this without the support of the community,” she said. Modrzejewski hopes the foundation can raise at least $5 million for the cancer center this year. More so, as part of Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, the new cancer center hopes to also give a boost to its parent hospital. “Healthcare is under tremendous pressure but we believe that by building this cancer center we’ll be able to attract additional volume, additional patients will want to be treated here at Saint Joseph,” Wolfman said. “This will be the seed that will germinate better care, better ideas, and will be really good for Providence and the community.” Built by McCarthy Building Companies, and designed by SWA Architects of Pasadena, the new center on the corner of Alameda Avenue and Buena Vista Street, has a lot of elements inspired by nature. In the lobby rotunda, a 25-foot glass waterfall cascades into a rock pool and an infinity pool highlights the second floor healing garden. “It’s very peaceful, you get a feeling of healing through the water, the color, and the textiles,” said Modrzejewski. The décor also features community artists who came together and donated original pieces of art.

-Advertisement-

Featured Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-

Related Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-