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Banner MD Anderson in Gilbert set for 130K square foot expansion
[January 04, 2013]

Banner MD Anderson in Gilbert set for 130K square foot expansion

Jan 05, 2013 (East Valley Tribune (Mesa - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- By Stacie Spring Tribune Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center will break ground on a 130,000 square-foot, $62.6 million expansion on the Banner Gateway campus Jan. 22.

The expansion will double the total clinic exam rooms to 60, add three linear accelerators used in radiation treatment and include 13 additional infusion bays. It will also expand the Laboratory Intake Center and Welcome Center, as well as the Cox Center for Integrative Oncology and Cancer Prevention.

"It means we will be able to keep up with demand of services we already provide, expand programs," said Todd Werner, CEO of Banner Gateway and Banner MD Anderson.

One such program is the Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy program, commonly known as a bone marrow transplant, he said. The center will be the first in the East Valley. Currently, such transplants are only available in the Valley in Phoenix and Scottsdale.

"We expect the project to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2014," Werner said. "We should be seeing patients (in the new facility) by April or May." The Cox Center for Integrative Oncology and Cancer Prevention will mix traditional oncology treatments with relaxation techniques to reduce pain and stress, he said.

"I find two of those things go together very nicely," Werner said.

Additionally, the center also plans to focus on cancer prevention, not just treatment.

"We know that there a few things that can mitigate cancer risk," Werner said. "Prevention will focus on lifestyle choices like diet and nutritional counseling. There are some things that can be done to prevent cancer and we want people to know about that." Since opening in 2011, the cancer center has seen more than 5,000 patients and more than 50,000 patient visits.

The growth of the facility can be attributed to a few things, Werner said.

"There's a demand from the market," he said. "You do what you can when you see capacity constraints on the horizon." First, the center has received an influx of patients during the winter months, related to the increase of winter visitors and others escaping cold months in northern states, Werner said.

And while the population in the East Valley has grown, the biggest reason people choose the cancer center is more than population proximity, he said.

"The biggest reason we've grown so much -- people are voting with their feet," Werner said. "Our disease model of care really does make a difference and it's resonating with the public." The facility, which is master planned, is capable of growing even more as the facility receives more demand, Werner said.

Even the current expansion has room for an additional linear accelerator used for radiation treatments and shell space for other programs.

"In our logo, there is a red line through cancer," Werner said. "We want to help make that red line a reality." Contact writer: (480) 898-5645 or Contact writer: (480) 898-5645 or ___ (c)2013 East Valley Tribune (Mesa, Ariz.) Visit East Valley Tribune (Mesa, Ariz.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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