- Published on Tuesday, 23 March 2004 19:43
- Written by Wendy Marinaccio - Special to the Town Crier
The Stanford University School of Medicine on March 1 opened its new Cancer Center Complex specializing in cancer treatment and research.
Dr. Richard Hoppe, a Los Altos resident for 23 years and chairman of Stanford's department of radiation oncology, was involved in designing the building's concept and determining how different cancer treatment programs could be merged in the new center. He said the improvements the new center brings can be grouped in three categories: improved patient amenities and ambiance; departments consolidated in one location; and the addition of new technologies - particularly the addition of the PET/CT scanner called the GE Discovery. The machine combines x-rays and nuclear imaging techniques to pinpoint tumors for radiation. There are only two such machines in the nation. The other PET/CT scanner is located in Houston, Texas.
Planning for the building began 10 years ago and was finished in 1997. But it took three years for the city of Palo Alto to approve the plans. The Cancer Center Complex is a four-story building, of which three floors are devoted to oncology. It has four times the capacity of the old cancer treatment facility.
Hoppe said the numerous facilities for cancer treatment used to be scattered throughout Stanford Medical Center. In the new building the clinics and medical departments are located in one place.
"This provides for an opportunity for (doctors) to interact, not just in the context of talking about patients but also brainstorming new ideas in cancer treatment," he said. "Some of the breakthroughs in cancer treatment came from Stanford, and we expect that to happen in the future."
The design of the new center is also more convenient for patients. Catherine Sleight, whose colon cancer has been treated at Stanford for two years, has undergone treatment from each of the three main departments - radiation oncology, medical oncology and surgical oncology - before they were consolidated at the center.
"A lot of your energy - of which cancer patients don't have very much - was spent trying to negotiate around the hospital," she said. "One really wonderful thing the new center does is bring everyone together and give them more of a sense of community. I think a really special thing (is) for a cancer patient to feel included rather than off on their own trying to forge their way through a system. It's a more supportive, caring feeling."
The new center's design includes many amenities for patients: meditation rooms, a cyber café, a health library, a Zen garden and a state-of-the-art Infusion Center. The facility also provides valet and concierge services to assist patients.
"When you come into the new Stanford Center, there's a desk with a concierge who will connect you with a volunteer trained to help you make your way through the cancer center," said Sleight. "It helps you form (a) chain of people (who) become the community that will take care of you."
"We consider (the new center) to be a really important community resource," said Hoppe. "We want people in the community to have (the) ability to be treated here."
For more information call the main triage number: (877) 668-7535.