Local News

Duke seeks state OK for cancer center

Posted November 17, 2008 5:23 p.m. EST
Updated November 18, 2008 9:21 a.m. EST

— Duke University Health System has applied to state regulators to build a 265,000-square-foot cancer center that would expand and consolidate Duke’s outpatient cancer services and research facilities.

The proposed $235 million project would also include renovating 14,400 square feet of the existing Morris Cancer Clinic.

“This expansion would allow Duke to keep pace with the growing demand, locally and statewide, for the kind of sophisticated, leading-edge cancer services that we are committed to providing to the people of North Carolina,” Dr. Victor J. Dzau, university chancellor for health affairs and the chairman and chief executive of Duke Health, said in a statement. “Duke is committed to continuing to be a national and international leader in cancer-related patient services and clinical and basic research."

New cancer cases are projected to increase by 21 percent in the Triangle and 13 percent statewide over the next five years. More than 65 percent of adult cancer patients and 78 percent of childhood cancer patients survive five years beyond diagnosis, creating a growing number of cancer survivors who require follow-up and supportive care, officials said.

"Clinicians and researchers at Duke and other institutions have made so many advancements and are seeing so many more patients reach survivorship, and if you combine the growing number of survivors with the growing number of newly diagnosed people, we can expect to see a real explosion in demand for our services,” Kevin Sowers, chief operating officer and interim chief executive of Duke University Hospital, said in the statement. “This expansion really reflects our attempt to meet that need.”

Pending state approval, officials expect to begin construction on the three-year project next July.

To be located next to Morris Cancer Clinic, the new facility would house infusion therapy, radiation oncology, imaging, lab services, pharmacy services, genetic counseling and patient support services, including educational, nutritional and social work resources.