By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Marlborough – When a resident of Marlborough or one of the surrounding communities was diagnosed with cancer in the past, they for the most part had sought treatment in Boston or Worcester. While certainly grateful to be able to access top-notch care, many also had to face the added stress of a long, arduous commute with added expenses such as tolls and parking fees. Now, those seeking treatment will be able to experience the same quality of excellent care closer to home with the soon-to-be opened UMass Memorial Cancer Center at Marlborough Hospital.
On Sept. 10 local and state officials joined hospital administrators to celebrate a ribbon cutting and reception at the new facility.
John Polanowicz, the commonwealth's secretary of the executive office of health and human services, served as the president and chief executive officer at Marlborough Hospital from 2003-2011. Speaking to those gathered for the ribbon cutting ceremony, he noted that the new facility “was one we could have only dreamed of.”
He praised the leadership of those involved in helping to make that dream a reality, noting that “strong investments in cutting edge care makes a difference.”
As a result, he added, “Marlborough Hospital is a world class facility with incredible physicians and a world class staff.”
“This new Cancer Center is a beacon of hope,” he added, “for so many who are suffering.”
Giles Whalen, MD, chief of surgical oncology and endocrinology and the new center's interim director, echoed those thoughts.
“We are on the edge of cancer therapy,” he said. “And this is one of the treasures in central Massachusetts. We have some of the most advanced technologies and a caring and committed staff.”
It was just as important, he said, to be able to get “the best treatments close to where you live and where you work and being able to surround yourself with your loved ones.”
“But this is just the beginning,” he said. “Our work is not done. It doesn's stop and neither shall we.”
Candra Szymanski, interim president and CEO of Marlborough Hospital, paid tribute to the hospital's physicians and staff who work with cancer patients.
“They work tirelessly to help patients get what they need,” she said, whether it was approval for treatments or financial help.
While the new center will provide expanded services including chemotherapy and radiation and access to clinical trials, it is also designed officials said, to focus on a “patient-centered, healing environment.”
As such, the new center's appearance is the antithesis of the traditional sterile hospital environment of old. The 14,500-square-feet space is decorated in a subtle and soothing palette of colors. In the Steven E. Salomon, MD, Infusion Suite, patients will be able to undergo their treatments in a large, airy room with comfortable chairs. Large windows provide views to a special “healing garden” that has moving water and seasonal plantings. There are also benches situated outside near the garden for patients and their families so they may enjoy it prior to or after their treatments.
Previously patients were able to receive outpatient medical oncology services. The new facility will have a TruBeam?Linear Accelerator which can deliver many different types of specialized radiation treatment, a CT Simulator for diagnostic imagining, and other expanded cancer care services.
Ground breaking for the $13 million project took place in January 2012. The architect was the S/L/A/M Collaborative from Glastonbury, Conn., and the contractor was Tocci Building Corporation from Woburn.
Marlborough Hospital, located at 157 Union St., is a member of UMass Memorial Health Care. The new center was built in partnership with UMass Memorial Health Care Center of Excellence and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
It is tentatively slated to open in mid-October. For more on the new center, visit http://www.umassmemorial.org/marlborough-hospital/services/cancer-care.