First phase of new Cancer Center dedicated at LLU Medical Center
During his remarks at the grand opening ceremonies for the new Loma Linda University Cancer Center, Mark E. Reeves, MD, PhD, told the crowd of 250 spectators that the Center will place Loma Linda University at the forefront of cancer care not only in the Inland Empire, but the nation as well.
A crowd of 250 enthusiastic spectators gathered on the lawn in front of Loma Linda University Medical Center as speaker after speaker extolled the value of having a comprehensive cancer center in the Inland Empire. The remarks were made during dedication ceremonies for the new Loma Linda University Cancer Center on Friday, February 15.
“We are standing on the transformational verge of cancer care in the Inland Empire,” according to Mark E. Reeves, MD, PhD, who—in addition to serving as director of the Loma Linda University Cancer Center—is also a surgical oncologist at Loma Linda University. Dr. Reeves reminded the audience that the LLU Cancer Center is the only place west of the Rockies where two of the world’s most precise cancer treatments, proton therapy and robotic surgery, are available at the same location.
Dr. Reeves predicted that “the people of the Inland Empire will be able to get care that’s on par with the finest in the nation” at the new Cancer Center. “It will be close to home, where they can form relationships with doctors and get follow-up care for life. The people of this region deserve the best, and we’re committed to providing it.”
Dr. Reeves also noted that patients of the Cancer Center will be operated on by a team of surgeons who treat only cancer patients. That degree of dedicated medical specialization—coupled with the synthesis of knowledge that will accrue from having the finest
Visitors tour the new LLU Cancer Center immediately following the grand opening ceremonies on Friday, February 15.
medical, surgical, radiation oncology, and research physicians on-site—will result in an environment where breakthroughs can move quickly from the laboratory to the treatment area so patients can benefit from the latest innovations in cancer therapy.
Other speakers added their own insights to the discussion. B. Lyn Behrens, MBBS, who is retiring as president and CEO of Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center later this month, said that the Cancer Center “gives us the opportunity to recommit to whole person care.” She also noted that “we celebrate the care of individuals who face this disease.” H. Roger Hadley, MD, dean of the LLU School of Medicine, noted that in spite of all the technological advantages the new Center affords, the basic care paradigm still “comes down to the eye-to-eye contact of a physician with a patient.”
The need for a comprehensive approach to cancer cannot be understated. Currently, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. More than one million Americans get the disease each year. Officials estimate that one out of every two
American men and one out of every three women will receive a diagnosis of cancer at some point in their lives. In all those cases, time is of the essence: The sooner a diagnosis is determined, the sooner lifesaving treatment modalities can be applied.
Several factors come together that will make the LLU Cancer Center not only the most comprehensive cancer center in the Inland Empire, but also one of the finest in the nation.
These resources include: the nation’s first and largest hospital-based proton treatment program; the only surgical robotics program in the Inland Empire; the first breast MRI in the Inland Empire; a multidisciplinary team that brings experts from all applicable medical endeavors together under one roof; the resources of an academic medical center with its own world-renowned school of medicine; a biospecimen lab to promote translational research and targeted treatments; a state-of-the-art perfusion center that incorporates hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemoperfusion capabilities for the treatment of abdominal cavity cancer; dedicated cancer surgeons providing both complex and minimally invasive cancer surgery; patient cancer navigators to address the psycho-social needs of patients and their families; and a home-like environment.
While Dr. Reeves wrapped-up his remarks, the other speakers on the platform went over to a corner of the Schuman Pavilion. At the appropriate time, they tugged on a large rope and unveiled a temporary sign marking the new Cancer Center. The permanent sign is still under construction. As soon as the rope was pulled, an air cannon shot a huge array of colorful confetti into the wind. Confetti swirled downward from the sky and covered the crowd—which had begun migrating toward the elevators for the ribbon-cutting ceremony inside the new Cancer Center—as well as the sidewalks, entrance circle, and gardens.
Inside the Cancer Center, visitors were treated to a delicious buffet lunch and tours of the luxurious new entry room, with its giant saltwater aquarium, treatment rooms, patient care areas and outdoor gardens. The design and décor of the Cancer Center was coordinated by the firm of Aesthetics, Inc., and features an in intriguing mixture of contemporary architectural elements and the soothing colors of nature expressed in paintings and photographs of wilderness areas, as well as natural motifs inlaid into the tile and carpet on the floor.
As impressive as it is, the new 11,000-square-foot Cancer Center is only a fraction of the size of the anticipated 75,000 square feet it will occupy when all four planned stages of improvements are completed. “Plans now underway,” notes Dr. Reeves, “will take us to the next level of excellence in treating cancer.”
If this first step is any indication, that level should exceed all expectations by a long shot.
By James Ponder