EDGEWOOD, Ky. — The St. Elizabeth Cancer Center represents a pair of boxing gloves in the fight against cancer. It’s a place that has a lot to offer that makes it unique in the Tri-State.
It’s a place where patients can find detection, diagnosis and care all under one roof.
“Allowing us to seamlessly approach patient’s care rather than what’s traditionally been fragmented care around the region – going from doctor’s office to doctor’s office in multiple buildings over weeks,” said St. Elizabeth Cancer Center executive medical director Dr. Doug Flora.
He said the building is an imperative moving forward.
“The number of cancer patients is supposed to double by 2030,” Flora said. “We need to be prepared for that.”
He said Kentucky leads the nation in cancer cases and deaths. That means the disease must be fought on all fronts, which the new cancer center makes possible.
The new facility has a place where a multi-disciplinary tumor board will meet daily to review scans and tests to chart the best care path for each patient.
“I'm a firm believer that docs talking to docs is important,” Flora said.
It's a place where the goal ranges from screening to biopsy – on the same day, if needed. A real-time locating system can track patients so they don’t have to linger in waiting rooms and an integrative approach alongside the clinical trials and genetic screenings.
For instance, a patient who gets a chemo treatment in the building can also go to a support group, get a massage, take a yoga class, find music therapy and even learn how to cook so they can taste their food in a teaching kitchen on the first floor.
“We really believe in this,” Flora said. “We're calling it the intersection of love and science.”
He said he knows how important that intersection is -- he’s a survivor. Flora and his team made sure to interview patients throughout the process. The new building is a response to the data they collected.
“Cancer is a team sport,” Flora said. “It requires dedicated nurses, research physicians, support staff. I feel our region is better equipped to fight cancer now than it was 48 hours ago.”
From patient input to community buy-in, St Elizabeth’s associates gave $1.5 million to support the project. The community gave $35 million.
The building is COVID-ready, too. It has no-touch doors and the floors are sealed with an anti-infective. The real-time locating system can trace anyone who comes within six to eight feet of any patient for contact tracing.