The need for expansion of the Regional Oncology Center at Lawrence Memorial Hospital was evident almost from the opening of the center in the summer of 2000.
Today, area residents will get their first opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes tour of a 9,000-square-foot addition.
The hospital will open the doors to a treatment area that has doubled in size -- including an addition for radiation therapy services -- to serve an increasing number of cancer patients in the Lawrence area.
"We hope the community will share the pride we have in our new Regional Oncology Center," said Joanne Hurst, chairwoman of LMH's board of trustees. "It is a significant addition in terms of facilities and services, but we are most proud of our people."
The addition, which is adjacent to the existing center in the Lawrence Health Plaza on the hospital's southwest side, cost an estimated $2.3 million.
The LMH Endowment Assn.'s 2001 Hearts of Gold Ball raised $127,000 to defray costs associated with the expansion.
The center already offers medical oncology services, including:
- Oncology/hematology consultation and treatment;
- Inpatient and outpatient chemotherapy, biotherapy administration and management;
- Community and patient education.
LMH officials said the capability to provide radiation therapy was essential to developing a quality, comprehensive cancer program at the hospital.
On-site radiology services eliminate the need for patients to travel to Topeka or the Kansas City area for treatment.
Nearly 500 new cancer patients have been cared for at LMH during the past year. In 2002, the center administered more than 6,000 cancer therapy treatments.
Since the Regional Oncology Center opened in May 2000, it has grown from having a part-time oncologist and a nurse practitioner to a staff that includes four oncologists, 11 oncology nurses, a pharmacist specializing in oncology pharmacy and a team of support staff and volunteers, according to Pat Parker, center director.
The addition is split into two areas.
One part of the facility is the LMH Regional Oncology Center for medical oncology. It features 15 treatment rooms, eight exam rooms, conference rooms, offices and shell space for further expansion.
Radiation Oncology Associates of Kansas City is leasing about 5,300 square feet of space from the hospital to house the Lawrence Cancer Center, which cost an estimated $1.6 million to construct and equip.
The eight-physician group of board-certified radiation oncologists, who practice at seven locations in the Kansas City area, will provide a radiation oncologist and other professional staff on site to run the specialized radiation-therapy equipment.
Among the equipment used in the Lawrence facility will be a dual-photon linear accelerator, a radiation-producing machine that directs high doses of therapeutic radiation to areas of the patient's body.
The Lawrence Cancer Center will offer specialized, three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy and Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, a treatment method that delivers high doses of radiation directly to cancer cells in a targeted way.
Kenon Qamar, M.D., is medical director of the Lawrence Cancer Center, which is scheduled to begin radiation therapy treatments in August.
Qamar has treated patients at the Johnson County radiation therapy site of Radiation Oncology Associates since 2000.
He is a lifelong Kansas resident and a 1991 graduate of Kansas University. He graduated from the Kansas University School of Medicine in 1995.