By ALAN J. ORTBALS
Construction is now underway on a new cancer care center near the campus of HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon, Ill. Early next year, Cancer Care Specialists of Illinois (CCSI) will move from its current location in Swansea to join St. Elizabeth’s in the new building.
Cancer Care Specialists have 20 locations in Central and Southern Illinois. Dr. Justin Floyd, a medical oncologist with CCSI, explained that consolidation of cancer care under one roof is a trend in the medical industry. The new facility is following that trend, bringing together all facets of care from research and clinical trials to diagnostics and treatment.
“It’s important to bring cancer research and cancer treatment-both radiation oncology and medical oncology-under one roof to decrease the burden on patients who are coming for care,” Floyd said. “If you can bring everything together so that patients who are already burdened by a bad disease only have to make one trip and walk a short distance from a parking lot to a one story facility that has everything on one level for them, you’ve lowered the barriers to care. It’s in the patient’s best interest to deliver care in that type of environment. That is why you see that trend and that’s what has motivated us to do this in O’Fallon and in other locations as well.”
Floyd said that CCSI participates in National Cancer Institute sponsored clinical trials in all of its centers and that there have been great advancements in cancer care and treatment.
“The most exciting development in the field of cancer care is the development of immunotherapy,” Dr. Floyd said. “We’ve found a way to turn the brakes off on the immune system; let it get revved up again; identify the cancer cells in patients’ bodies; and attack them and kill them. In some cases, we can improve the chance of cure, while in others we can control the disease and prolong life.”
Floyd pointed out that immunotherapy is not effective against all cancers or effective in all patients, however, cancer research is helping identify which particular cancers and which patients will benefit from immunotherapy. Additionally, the overall goal is to not just increase survival from cancer but also improve the quality of life– to make cancer care more tolerable with less side effects so that people live better lives during their fight with cancer.
“Were very excited and looking forward to moving into our new building,” Dr. Floyd said. “It will be a lot better for our patients and better for our staff. It’s going to be a win-win for everybody.”
St. Elizabeth’s President and CEO Patti Fischer agrees. “This radiation oncology center will allow cancer patients the opportunity to receive advanced services and innovative treatments in a location that keeps them close to home where family and friends can support them during this difficult time in their lives,” she noted. “Along with serving residents in the Metro East, the clinic will be easily accessible and a benefit to patients from smaller community hospitals within and outside of our system.”
By ALAN J. ORTBALS