Hospitals Join In Cancer Center

Posted: December 14, 1989

By sometime in 1991, Chester County cancer patients will have the most advanced treatment programs for the disease right in their back yard, according to officials from Paoli Memorial Hospital and the Fox Chase Cancer Center of Philadelphia.

The institutions announced Tuesday that they are combining their resources to establish a 47,000-square-foot clinic on Paoli Memorial's Lancaster Avenue campus. The Paoli Cancer Program will include chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatment areas for inpatients and outpatients, an array of support services, and access to Fox Chase's computerized database for cancer treatment guidelines.

"It will have the comprehensive regional resources for cancer care with the convenient, personalized care of Paoli Hospital," said hospital president Leland White at the news conference Tuesday.

Stephen Fox, the program's medical director, said it was a "moral outrage" that 80 percent of cancer patients do not have access to advanced research therapies that are offered at institutions such as Fox Chase. The joint venture, Fox said, will bring local patients "1994 cancer care in 1990" and make Paoli Memorial "the leading regional cancer center in the area."

Paul Engstrom, the vice president for population science at Fox Chase, a federally designated Comprehensive Care Center, said the program would help its researchers "translate our findings more quickly into clinical advances to help patients . . . and foster professional interaction with community physicians." In turn, Fox Chase will gain a vital clinical testing area for its research, and a "two-way referral process" will be created, Engstrom said.

Paoli Memorial is the fourth hospital to join the Fox Chase Network for aiding area residents, according to Engstrom. Saint Mary Hospital in Langhorne, Montgomery Hospital in Norristown, and North Penn Hospital are the other hospitals. White said Paoli Memorial handled a "couple of thousand" cancer patients annually as one of its primary tasks; he estimated the new program would attract a few hundred more per year.

Paoli Memorial officials said groundbreaking for the $10 million building - the outpatient therapies and support services area on the first floor will cost $4.2 million - was scheduled for April 1990. The cost of the project will be met by a $1.2 million gift already received from the hospital's auxiliary of volunteer workers, which has conducted several fund-raising activities, and donations from private donors estimated at $3 million to $4 million.

The remainder will be funded by a combination of tax-exempt bonds and taxable loans, with the latter covering physicians' offices in the building.

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