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Columbia Memorial Hospital, OHSU collaborate to expand cancer treatment services in Astoria

Columbia Memorial Hospital and Oregon Health & Science University Collaborate to Expand Cancer Treatment Services in Astoria

Radiation therapy will soon be available close to home for people living at the mouth of the Columbia River.

Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH) and the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) are pleased to announce the development of a new 18,000-square-foot comprehensive cancer treatment center and specialty clinic. The CMH/OHSU Knight Cancer Collaborative will expand on CMH’s existing chemotherapy treatment services, and bring much-needed radiation therapy services to the North Coast.

“Our collaboration with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is a significant enhancement to the healthcare services available to our community,” said Erik Thorsen, chief executive officer of CMH. “We are working to bridge the divide of accessible healthcare services locally. Our growing partnership with OHSU aims to continue bringing medical excellence to the North Coast without the miles.”

Currently, CMH’s cancer treatment services benefit an estimated 300 patients per month. Local cancer patients who require radiation therapy must travel at least an hour outside of Astoria to receive treatment. A course of radiation therapy is generally administered for five consecutive days, and it can last up to eight weeks.

“I can’t emphasize this point enough; this center is so beneficial to this community, and for all those who are living with cancer in our region. Its development means that patients battling cancer will not have to travel a distance for their treatments,” said Judy Coleman, a four-year survivor of esophageal cancer and member of the CMH Patient-Family Advisory Council.

“At one time during my treatment, the fatigue of travel had me thinking about ending my treatment prematurely. It felt overwhelming. Having radiation therapy locally may make the difference between continuing and giving up treatment for some cancer patients.”

As part of the expansion, CMH/OHSU Cancer Care Center’s medical director, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute medical oncologist Jennifer Lycette, M.D., and nurse practitioner Anne Hulstrom, N.P., P.P., will be joined in the practice by a radiation oncologist to be hired by the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. The team will be rounded out with their support personnel. In cooperation with physicians from the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, these local providers will offer patients a full complement of cancer care treatments.

“We are working to create a model of care that supports a medical home model. With this new center, cancer patients in the region will soon have improved access to medical advancements, the latest treatment technologies and clinical trials available in Portland,” said Lycette.

If a patient requires more specialized cancer treatment than is available, CMH will coordinate a seamless transfer of care to a physician at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute in Portland while also helping patients navigate their ongoing cancer care at the new Center in Astoria.

“The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and Columbia Memorial Hospital are committed to exploring innovative ways to work together to ensure patients in our region benefit from the most advanced cancer treatment, as well as gain access to appropriate clinical trials, without duplicating resources,”said Tomasz M. Beer, M.D., F.A.C.P., deputy director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. “By expanding our collaboration, we will be better equipped to provide patients with treatment in the most appropriate place to meet their needs.”

The center is being designed by PKA Architects. The construction team includes general contractor P&C Construction and project managers Al Jacques and Mike Day, of Day CPM Services. Construction is expected to begin in 2016.

The CMH Foundation also supports the development of the new cancer center facility. At its May 9, 2015 annual fundraiser, the Foundation launched the second phase of its Cancer Center campaign. Since the start of its efforts to bring cancer care to the region, the Foundation has raised more than $1.3 million.

For information on how you can support this project, contact the CMH Foundation at 503-325-3208.

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