According to the National Cancer Institute, Kenton, Boone and Campbell counties have some of the highest cancer diagnosis rates in the state of Kentucky. Local health care providers, however, are working to provide better outcomes with new advancements, new treatments and even new buildings.

St. Elizabeth Healthcare
St. Elizabeth Healthcare is expected to open its new $140 million Cancer Center in 2020. The 233,000-square-foot, five-story center promises to be the largest and most comprehensive cancer center in the region.

According to a press release, the new center will feature:

- Precision medicine and genomic health, which will assist doctors in giving patients the right medicine at the right time.

- Increased education, screening and prevention services, which will enable doctors to catch cancer earlier.

- Clinical research with more access to clinical trials, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and members of the NCI National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN), and conveniently located in the area.

- Medical professionals of multiple disciplines—including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, oncology surgeons, nurses, genetic counselors and more—together under one roof.

- And the most advanced technology in the region.

President and CEO Garren Colvin said in a press release that “the Center is a key component in fulfilling our ongoing vision to lead Northern Kentucky to become one of the healthiest communities in America.”

Leading the Cancer Center as the executive director of oncology services will be Dr. Douglas Flora. He previously served as the interim director and has been with St. Elizabeth since 2016. In a press release, Flora said, “The Center we’re about to build is designed from the ground up with the patient experience as our driving motivator. We want to offer our patients access to the latest clinical trials but also that softer touch that lets them know they are part of our family.”

UC Health
Across the river, UC Health is also looking to beef up its cancer care offerings. The health system teamed up with Cincinnati Children’s and University of Cincinnati to create the Cincinnati Cancer Center. The goal of the new center is to become a national hub for research and to be recognized as such by the National Cancer Institute. Doing so would bring $40 million in federal research money to the organizations.

At UC Health’s Clifton campus, the health system is planning on investing $30 million to improve the campus’ inpatient and outpatient facilities as well as the navigation of the campus. The Clifton location is home to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, UC Health Physicians’ Offices and Barrett Cancer Center.

Christ Hospital Network
For those seeking care closer to home, The Christ Hospital Health Network’s Outpatient Center in Ft. Wright offers oncology services like chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy as well as some outpatient procedures.

“People like and—I think rightly so—want their care as close to home as possible,” says Dr. Brian Mannion, a medical oncologist and medical director of oncology at The Christ Hospital. “I think they’re very happy to be able to do that very close to wherever they reside.”

At the outpatient center, patients are able to have their testing completed, learn their diagnosis and receive many treatments within the same building. “Someone could come in, they could get their CAT scan and then they just walk down the hall and go over it with us, talk about results, and then could go get a treatment all without leaving the one building,” says Mannion.

Patients may need to travel to one of the network’s locations in Ohio for radiation or complex surgery, but inpatient procedures like a lumpectomy for breast cancer or removing skin cancer can be performed in Ft. Wright.

According to Mannion, being able to access most procedures and the helpfulness of the center’s staff are what patients most appreciate about The Christ Hospital.

“Cancer care is very complex. One person doesn’t do it—it’s really an entire team. So a person during their cancer treatment they might see a person who does chemo for them, someone who does radiation for them, they’ll see a physical therapist, they’ll see a counselor, you just go down the list and they’ll see an entire team of people and how they move from one part of the care to another is very seamless. They don’t feel like they’re forgotten about or that they have to do a lot of stuff on their own. We do a lot of legwork and make sure that A happens and B happens and C happens. We really make it an experience for them that focuses on their care,” he says. 

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