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Banner cancer center to nearly double in size (AZCentral.com)

By Ken Alltucker The Republic | azcentral.com Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:13 PM

Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center will add a second building and more cancer therapies as part of a $62.6 million expansion that will nearly double the size of its outpatient center in Gilbert.

The expansion will include 111,000 additional square feet of examination rooms and treatment bays to the existing 130,000-square-foot center, which opened in September 2011 at Banner Gateway Medical Center in Gilbert.

Representatives of Phoenix-based Banner Health said that demand for the outpatient cancer center has been robust enough that they decided to pursue an expansion, which is expected to open in spring 2014.

“We have seen consistent growth since opening,” said Todd Werner, CEO of Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, which has attracted about 50,000 patient visits since opening. “As we continue to look at that trajectory, we see a time when space constraints will be a reality.”

The expansion will add three “linear accelerators” for radiation treatment, double the number of exam rooms from 30 to 60 and add 13 additional “infusion bays” for cancer treatment. The expansion also will provide space for Banner MD Anderson’s stem-cell transplant and cellular therapy, also known as a bone-marrow transplant.

When Banner Health relocated its bone-marrow transplant program from Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix to Banner MD Anderson, some physicians and staff left to join another bone-marrow transplant program at Scottsdale Healthcare.

Banner MD Anderson has bolstered recruiting efforts of physicians and support staff to establish and grow its bone-marrow transplant program, Werner said.

The Banner MD Anderson expansion also will add therapies to combine traditional medical treatment with alternative therapies that are backed by medical evidence. With a $5 million donation from the James M. Cox Family Foundation, the facility’s new Cox Center for Integrative Oncology and Cancer Prevention will provide integrative medicine therapies such as relaxation techniques to aid stress and pain relief.

Banner Health representatives said the expansion will add about 40 employees to the outpatient center’s existing head count of 363 employees. Banner MD Anderson also expects to hire or contract with 10 to 20 more physicians over the next year. The center now employs 40 physicians and contracts with 60 physicians.