With a seven-story, $72 million expansion set to open on March 16, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System’s Gibbs Cancer Center plans to offer patients treatment beyond traditional chemotherapy and radiation.
At a ribbon-cutting held Thursday, staff unveiled the 191,000-square-foot expansion. The center includes a new physical therapy gym, patient accessible-kitchen, retail shop featuring wigs and prosthesis-fitting services and an on-site outpatient pharmacy. The facility offers radiation, medical and surgical oncology along with cyber knife technologies, centralized lab services, genetic counseling and an integrative medicine center.
“We’re blessed in the Upstate to have a world-class cancer center here that enables patients not to have to travel far,” said Tony Kouskolekas, Pelham Medical Center’s president. “They are able to get first-quality opinions and recommendations on cancer care, and what makes us a little different is that our doctors are committed to what we call multi-disciplinary care. Historically, they have gotten together to discuss someone’s case once someone was diagnosed with cancer. Now, the design of this building will allow them to come together while patients are in the building for multidisciplinary clinics, so that patients can get opinions from multiple providers while they are here for one visit.”
Kouskolekas expects that the center will bring 80 jobs to the area in its first stages, but notes that there is plenty of room to grow as needed.
“To be involved with the planning of this and working with our cancer team has just been another great facet, Kouskolekas said. “Our campus is poised for growth: we have plenty of land and so if we need to do something, we certainly can.”
According to Dr. Michael Starnes, Gibbs Cancer Center’s radiation oncology director, 36 exam rooms have been reserved for the March 16 opening, bringing the center to 75% capacity. Starnes said the center prioritizes clinical research and holistic care alongside traditional treatment measures. The integrative medicine center will allow patients a bridge to recovery through massage and art therapy, tai chi and cooking classes recorded for outpatient survivors to follow.
The new space raises the center’s capacity from less than 10 infusion treatment beds to 40 treatment rooms.
Dr. Heather Allen, a radiology oncologist at Gibbs Cancer Center, noted that the new facility streamlines and strengthens collaborative treatment opportunities spearheaded by oncologists Drs. James Bearden and Julian Josey when they founded the Gibbs Cancer Center 40 years ago.
“They were ahead of the game. This is the model that works, but it wasn’t in place 40 years ago. It was their vision to take a new paradigm shift in cancer treatment and bring it home to the local area,” Allen said.