The Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center
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So far, more than $7 million has been raised in Ochsner's ongoing Cancer Center campaign, which has a $20 million fundraising goal. On June 15, New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson and his wife Gayle Benson generously contributed $5 million toward the first phase of the center, The Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center.
Louisiana has the second highest cancer incidence rate and highest cancer mortality rate in the nation. According to the Louisiana Cancer Registry, Ochsner is the largest reporting healthcare facility of new cancer diagnoses in the state. This year, over 2,200 individuals will choose Ochsner for diagnostic expertise, second opinions, and treatment. Their diagnoses comprise virtually every known type of cancer.
"Ochsner is a leader in providing healthcare services. They are a leader in our community," said Tom Benson. "The expansion of the cancer center, right here in our city, is another important element in the revival of our region. Ochsner’s role in this revival and their role as a preeminent leader in cancer care cannot be overstated. My wife Gayle and I are proud to have our names associated with such a wonderful institution."
Currently, there is not a comprehensive cancer center with robust clinical care and research in New Orleans. Ochsner's unique combination of patient care, research, and education set the institution apart from other healthcare providers in the region who are able to provide some, but not all, of the services needed by cancer patients and their families. In addition, a research partnership with LSU Health Sciences Center ensures that clinical and basic research into cancer prevention, treatment, and cure receives the highest attention.
The facility will house an expanded Hematology Oncology Clinic and Chemotherapy Infusion Clinic that significantly increases the number of available Chemotherapy Infusion Stations and more than doubles the number of patient exam rooms to better care for the growing number of patients who choose Ochsner. Today, nurses and staff care for 45-50 chemo patients each day in often crowded circumstances, and the new center will accommodate over 62-75 infusion patients per day.
Patients will enjoy serene views of the Mississippi River during their treatments, and the space is designed to accommodate the different preferences of chemotherapy patients. While some stations are designed to facilitate conversation and sharing with fellow patients, other stations provide privacy.
"Expansion of The Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center will allow us to focus more intently on a comprehensive, multidisciplinary team approach to cancer care. This approach includes combined weekly conferences, where the current cancer treatment guidelines are discussed by all specialists, and through the application of cutting-edge clinical trials for cancer patients," says Dr. Adam Riker, Medical Director of Cancer Services, Ochsner Health System.