WEST JORDAN — The Jordan Valley Medical Center announced a new cancer treatment center Friday that will keep patients close to home.
Angela Evatz, who will be the director of the $10 million cancer center, said the medical center is currently able to aid cancer patients with surgery and chemotherapy, but it is not equipped to offer radiation therapy.
"This new center brings that piece to our campus," she said. "We just feel very strongly that we wanted to close that loop and be able to provide that service for the patients that we served in the west and in the southwest valley."
The cancer center will be added to the existing hospital to offer inpatient and outpatient cancer care Evatz said, and will be the only center with those services west of I-15 in the Salt Lake Valley.
Construction will begin in the fall and is expected to be finished a year later in the fall of 2015.
Friday's announcement comes about a month after the groundbreaking of the new Primary Children's and Families' Cancer Research Center at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, a 220,000-square-foot expansion to the existing institute doubling its research space.
Evatz said the addition at Huntsman did not influence the decision to develop a cancer center at the Jordan Valley Medical Center.
"Our decision was based on our community need and what we felt that we could offer to our patients and make it so that for treatment, if they wanted to remain close to home, they have that option," she said.
There have been no formal discussions between Huntsman and Jordan Valley, Evatz said, but she said it is likely that as clinical research and trials are developed at Huntsman, the new cancer facility in West Jordan could host those clinical trials.
Representatives from the Huntsman Cancer Institute were not available for comment Friday.
Jill Vicory, spokeswoman for the Utah Hospital Association, said Utah has one of the lowest cancer rates in the country, but that these cancer centers are relevent and necessary.
"We're still having a growing population and aging population," she said. "Cancer is going to be one of the service lines that's going to continue to grow in demands and need for treatment."
She said Jordan Valley's cancer center is a response for the need for cancer care services closer to home and for those living on the west side of the valley.
The new cancer center will also offer radiation therapy equipment called Versa HD, a system that allows doctors to treat a broad spectrum of tumors.
"You’re able to treat a lot of types of cancer," Evatz said, listing brain, skin, breast and prostate cancer specifically. "It has a full complement of treatment methodology so it’s very comprehensive, in one machine."
Evatz said the other advantage of the Versa HD is that it reduces the amount of time patients need to spend in the hospital receiving radiation treatment.
"They spend less time having to be on the table and actually be in our center and can spend more time at home with family trying to feel better."