On Thursday, February 21, 2013, a crowd of politicians, medical personnel and community leaders gathered on a chilly morning on 6th Street in downtown Phoenix, to celebrate a project that has been in the planning stages for years. The new University of Arizona Cancer Center (UACC) at St Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center was the vision of Dr. David Alberts, who first arrived at the University of Arizona College of Medicine l in 1975.
“I hope,” said the 73-year-old administrator, “to be able to walk through the doors of this new center in 2015.”
The new $100 million Cancer Center will be five stories high and 220,000 square feet. It will be one of only 41 comprehensive cancer centers in the US. This center will benefit Phoenix in many ways.
Mayor Greg Stanton, who was credited with using a coffee klatch to break the political logjam threatening completion of the Center, spoke about the many high-level jobs, which will be infused into Phoenix. For example, the Center will be home to 60-70 oncology and oncology-related specialists.
Linda Hunt from St Joe's mentioned the increased capacity to help more people; the Center would be able to treat 1500 patients each year. Derrick Hall, President/CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks and a cancer survivor, emphasized the importance of philanthropy and support for cancer patients. The Center will include nutritional, physiological, pain management, and other services for cancer survivors, as well as prevention services.
Five-year cancer survivorship (e.g., breast, ovarian and lymphoma) has increased dramatically the past 30 years. The location of a Cancer center in Phoenix will have direct wellness benefits for Arizonans. “I am most excited about the research capabilities of this Center,” said Eileen Klein, President of the Arizona Board of Regents. The UACC will be a hub for international research projects, like cooperation with Israel and the United Kingdom on brain tumors.
Even the snow and hail of the night before that had turned the site into a muddy mess, could not dampen the enthusiasm and optimism of the political and health care leaders, who picked up shovels to break ground on the UACC last week.