Strecker Cancer Center may move all its resources to Belpre location

Photo Provided The Memorial Health System is considering the expansion of its cancer center in Belpre by moving its Strecker Cancer Center from Marietta. Memorial leaders cautioned that the move, if it takes place, will not be started for at least 18 to 24 months.

MARIETTA — As part of its long-term strategy to become a regional care provider, the Memorial Health System is considering moving its Strecker Cancer Center operations in Marietta to the Strecker Cancer Center in Belpre.

Memorial’s Belpre campus Strecker Cancer Center already offers out-patient services to cancer patients, but an 80,000-square-foot structure now being built by developer PM Company is under consideration as the Strecker Center’s new home.

Emphasizing that plans are still tentative, Memorial CEO Scott Cantley said the move wouldn’t take place for at least a year and a half and would be part of the system’s strategic plan to become a more regional health care provider.

“We want to continue to grow and expand our oncology program,” he said. “We’ve got phenomenal physicians, we’re seeing a lot of growth, and there’s a limit to what we can do on this hillside,” a reference to the Marietta Memorial Hospital site, which has limited growth potential and already is cramped for parking.

“Oncology is an outpatient service, and there is complicated parking and congestion here,” he said. “Belpre certainly has easier access, and with more space there will absolutely be opportunities for new technology and new services.”

Photo by Michael Kelly Toni Ligas, a breast health navigator at the Strecker Cancer Center in Marietta, checks a clipboard and file. Ligas assists patients through the diagnosis and treatment processes for breast cancer at the center.

Cantley said part of the objective is to move outpatient services — oncology offers radiation and chemotherapy services, which are both outpatient processes — to the Belpre campus, which has superior access for patients coming and going. The building space currently occupied by the Strecker center in Marietta would be converted to a neuroscience department, which Cantley said is a growth specialty for the system.

Oncology, he noted, can involve several other departments such as surgery, gynecology and neuropathy, all of which will remain in Marietta.

Jennifer Offenberger, Memorial’s associate vice president of marketing and service excellence, said the Belpre location has the potential to draw patients from a larger geographic area as the oncology program continues to grow.

Cantley said one piece of technology being considered is a radiation delivery device called a Cyberknife, which offers greater precision in targeting tumors.

Wanda Schaad, 56, finished her last treatment for breast cancer through the Memorial Health System on April 21, 2017, and is marking a year of being cancer free. She said Thursday she would welcome having the system’s oncology services consolidated.

“It would be great if it was all in one place. When I was being treated, I had to go to Belpre for chemo and Marietta for radiation,” she said.

Schaad, who lives in Veto, said she received four rounds of chemotherapy treatment in Belpre, followed by 36 radiation treatments over seven weeks in Marietta.

“If they had everything in one location, it would be better,” she said.

Although it might be an inconvenience for some Marietta patients, the drive amounts to about 15 or 20 minutes.

“I know people who have to go to Columbus every day for treatment,” she said.

Cantley said one overall goal of the move would be to expand services both to attract patients in a larger geographic area and to offer new services to patients.

“We work from a strategic plan to provide the best service possible to the region,” he said. “We ask, what can we provide that people can stay home for” rather than traveling long distances for health services.

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Present Facilities, Memorial Health System

Marietta

* Marietta Memorial Hospital –Integrated health service hospital.

* Selby General Hospital — critical access hospital.

* Broughton Medical Campus — primary care.

* Devola Medical Campus — internal medicine.

* Hildreth Lane — Psychiatry.

* Home, Health and Hospice — 450 Pike St., home health care.

* Physicians Care Express — urgent care clinic.

* Wayne Street Medical Campus — Wellness 55+, sports medicine, audiology, pediatrics, primary care, ENT, OB/GYN, allergy and immunology

* Memorial Health System Frontier — Rehabilitation services, driver education.

Belpre

* Belpre Medical Campus — wound care, pain management, diagnostics, outpatient therapy, cancer center, occupational health, physician offices, endoscopy, spine and joint services, sleep lab.

* Emergency Room — freestanding emergency department.

* Physicians Care Express — urgent care clinic.

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