A leading-edge facility to address critical needs and opportunities
posted July 21st, 2011
Over the past decade, the combination of Duke’s growing reputation for excellence in cancer care, increasing cases of virtually all cancers and the explosive population growth in North Carolina led to the inescapable conclusion that there was a need to create a state-of-the-art cancer facility in order to handle the growing demand and need for Duke Medicine-quality cancer services.
Leading-edge cancer care and research have been a Duke Medicine hallmark for 40 years since Duke became one of the original eight National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers in the nation following passage of the National Cancer Act in 1971.
Today, cancer care remains one of Duke Medicine’s differentiating clinical areas of expertise. More than 600 patients are seen daily in the cancer clinics or receive radiation therapy, and nearly 6,000 new patients come each year from virtually every state and around the world. Duke’s outstanding faculty, many of whom are acknowledged leaders in their field, provide specialty and subspecialty care unmatched in North Carolina, the Southeast or nationally.
The new Cancer Center facility will build on that legacy and contribute to Duke’s long-term strength at a time when demand is growing rapidly for the type of leading-edge care, enhanced through basic and clinical research, that the Duke Cancer Institute provides. The greater Triangle’s population is expected to rise 11.5 percent to above 2.4 million by 2015, led by Durham and Wake counties. The number of new cancer cases is expected to rise by 16.5 percent statewide over the next five years, with the greater Triangle bearing much of that burden with a projected increase of 23.1 percent in new cases.
Clearly, even with the expansion of some other local and regional cancer facilities, there is a growing and specific need for specialty cancer services and programs at Duke.
All of these factors led Duke Medicine leadership to begin planning for the new, state-of-the-art facility in 2007. In just seven months, the building will open as a premier, patient-focused facility that delivers compassionate, multidisciplinary care to patients and their families in one convenient location.
As people lead longer, fuller lives with cancer thanks to new treatments and therapies, there is a greater need to care for the patient as a whole person in order to successfully address the full spectrum of medical and emotional challenges.
“Delivering care to our patients in a healing environment that meets their clinical, spiritual, emotional and psychosocial needs has become an increasingly vital part of our cancer care,” said Kevin Sowers, MSN, RN, FAAN, president of Duke University Hospital. “Our new building will enable the highest level of care to be focused on every aspect of the patient experience.”
Cancer care teams will work side-by-side, providing seamless care and benefitting in turn from the resulting greater opportunities to collaborate. Clinical and support services will be located within the disease-based programs, also enhancing staff efficiency and collaboration. Related clinics will occupy the same floor, strengthening their respective programs.
“The new Cancer Center facility is absolutely essential for us to be able to care for the increasing number of people being diagnosed with cancer,” said William J. Fulkerson Jr., M.D., executive vice president of Duke University Health System. “Our ability to fight and cure cancer, now and well into the future, will be strengthened by this new building and the welcoming, patient-centered environment it offers.”
The Cancer Center facility will complement the new Duke Cancer Institute, which was launched in November 2010. The resulting synergy will create an innovative model for research and care that will further distinguish Duke, ranked by U.S. News & World Report for nearly 20 years as one of the nation’s premier centers for cancer services. The DCI’s first executive director, Michael B. Kastan, M.D., Ph.D., a renowned cancer scientist and thought leader, begins work at Duke on Aug. 1, coming from the Comprehensive Cancer Center at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
“In building the new Cancer Center facility and the Duke Medicine Pavilion, we are laying the cornerstones for the bright future of Duke Medicine and ensuring that we continue to provide the very best in care for our patients, families and community we serve,” Sowers said.
Read other articles from the special issue of Inside Duke Medicine on the Cancer Center facility.
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