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HEALTH CARE

Watch now: OSF Cancer Center ready for Monday opening in Bloomington

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A highly accurate, powerful linear accelerator allows new treatment options at OSF Cancer Center.

BLOOMINGTON — Think of it as a one-stop shop: just about everything you could possibly need as a cancer patient — an oncologist, radiologist, pastoral care, a "navigator" to guide you through the health care system — all in one place. 

That's the idea behind OSF HealthCare's new Bloomington-based Cancer Center, set to open its doors to patients Monday. 

OSF adds cancer center to St. Joseph campus

To be clear, OSF's Cancer Center at 210 St. Joseph Drive isn't the only cancer clinic in town with a wide range of services offered. 

Carle Cancer Institute in Normal also offers multidisciplinary clinics for breast, prostate, gynecologic and head or neck cancers. Support groups, nurse navigators and genetic counselors are also available at the Normal-based clinic. 

What OSF Cancer Center adds to the area, officials said during a media tour Wednesday, is another chance to get treatment — quickly after a diagnosis — from a team based in the same space, working together for the same goals. 

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Lacey Howard, OSF Cancer Center manager, walks through a hallway filled with patient preparation rooms on Wednesday as the center prepares to open its new cancer therapy facility on Monday.

"Really, the patients benefit the most — both from all of us being able to come together and discuss their cases in a multidisciplinary, common shared space and actually see them together in clinic," OSF oncologist Dr. Kyle Stang said. "Commonly, the community folks will see someone at some clinic and then they have to travel elsewhere, and there's a cost to all of that.

Having everything in house and in this shared space lets us discuss things... more efficiently and also provide more efficient multidisciplinary care to patients, because we're all here and we're sharing the same space." 

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One of several infusion rooms at the new OSF Cancer Center, seen here Wednesday, is designed to provide a comfortable space for patients to receive treatment.

For the past 12 months, OSF has been providing certain cancer treatments in a standalone clinic in a lot outside the Center for Health in Bloomington.

About 150 patients have been served in the temporary location and about 2,000 radiation treatments have been administered in the past year, OSF Cancer Center manager Lacey Howard said. 

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A hybrid PET and CT scanner, seen here Wednesday, allows OSF Cancer Center physicians to link data from past tests and create a plan for treatment with the center's linear accelerator.

When the doors to the permanent site of OSF Cancer Center open Monday, it will mark the start of an every-other-week cancer clinic rotation in which three to four patients will be served at a time. 

"As you can imagine, those are extended visits: We have pastoral care available and social work services available, since we tried to give all that wraparound care as well as (time) with the clinicians, so you could be here for a while during that first visit," OSF St. Joseph Medical Center president Lynn Fulton said.

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Lacey Howard, left, OSF Cancer Center manager, listens as Dr. Kyle Stang, right, describes improvements to the design of the center's new TrueBeam linear accelerator on Wednesday as the center prepares for a ribbon cutting.

Services will start with breast cancer patients, with the goal of making the multidisciplinary services available to those with colon and lung cancers as well. 

"We're starting with breast (cancer) because we wanted to make sure we have plenty of clinic space to accommodate that," Fulton added. 

Ahead of the launch of the center's services — and the latest radiation treatment available via a TrueBeam Linear Accelerator the health system acquired earlier this year — Stang said the mood among staffers was palpable. 

"We're all very excited," he said. 


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