St. Charles Bend is set to open its $13 million cancer center, the first of its kind on the High Desert and a milestone in treatment for a region covering 250,000 residents.
St. Charles Foundation officials told NewsChannel 21 during a media tour of the center Friday that they've been waiting for this moment for years, and they believe this new facility will help their mission in providing Central Oregon with the best care possible.
"We're extremely excited,” Dr. Linyee Chang said. “This is a historic time for us. For the first time, all cancer services will be under one roof."
It will be one roof that will cover both medical and radiation oncology services starting July 1.
"By bringing it together, not only does it make it easier for patients, but the physicians and other the caregivers working closer together as a team,” said VP of Construction Rick Martin. “It makes communication easier."
St. Charles expects the region's cancer cases to increase 50 percent by the year 2025.
Cancer center Director Allison McCormick said with all the resources in one place, it will allow for a more diverse treatment.
"We not only look at their clinical outcomes and needs, but we also look at their emotional, psychological and spiritual needs," McCormick said.
The 22,000-square-foot cancer center broke ground in April of last year. Matt Wycoff was the construction project manager and said it was built with one special purpose in mind.
"The amazing thing about this, is this building is constructed to save lives,” Wycoff said. “That's really the main part of this building."
Along with a wide array of traditional cancer treatments, the center offers alternative treatment, in the form of a healing garden.
"Our desire is, they can go down and walk through the garden,” McCormick said. “It creates a sense of peace and calm, and we know that from research that by decreasing the stress levels. It helps to improve one’s immune system."
Overall, Chang said completion of the cancer center is a major milestone for the regions health care.
"It took us years to design it, and you know, this is the culmination of so many of our dreams."
As of now, they still have over $300,000 left to raise for the rest of the facility. That money will go toward the new medical oncology wing and renovation of the existing facility, which should be completed early August.