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$19M cancer facility to be built on Elliot Hospital campus

New Hampshire Union Leader

July 25. 2018 9:32AM
Elliot Health System is proposing a new “one-stop” cancer center on its Manchester hospital campus. (COURTESY)

MANCHESTER — Elliot Health System wants to spend $19 million to build a “one-stop” cancer center on its Manchester campus in an effort to attract patients who would otherwise seek treatment in Massachusetts.

“Patients are looking for a comprehensive center that can answer their needs and they like to do it in one stop,” Dr. Greg Baxter, Elliot’s chief medical officer, said in an interview Tuesday.

A portion of the existing cancer center on the Elliot campus will be torn down starting in the spring. A new 22,000-square-foot building will be attached to the existing radiation oncology section of Elliot Hospital.

Construction should be finished in August 2020, according to Rob Glew, Elliot’s vice president of operations. The Manchester Planning Board will hear about the project Aug. 2.

The new center will bring various cancer treatments together in a single location.

Cancer patients who are in the Elliot Health System who need chemotherapy often need to go to New Hampshire Oncology-Hematology in Hooksett and may also need to travel to the Elliot for other treatment the same day. New Hampshire Oncology-Hematology will provide chemotherapy at the new center.

The new center “will make a big difference for patients,” said Dr. Peter Crow, a partner in the Hooksett practice.

The current Elliot cancer center offers surgical services and radiation therapy.

Crow said a comprehensive center can also provide other services, such as nutritional advice.

The new center “also creates a synergy between the physicians and all the support staff, so that patients have that sense that they’re in a cancer care community and how we handle that,” Baxter said.

The one-and-half-story wing in the foreground will be removed to make way for the new, comprehensive cancer care center at the Elliot Hospital in Manchester. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

Earlier detection of cancer and higher cancer rates than in previous years also are helping fuel demand for cancer treatment, he said. The new center could result in an estimated 10 to 20 percent increase in the number of patients yearly.

“We need a much more robust and efficient system to meet that need, so we expect growth in this, yes,” he said.

One location makes it easier for doctors to collaborate and for patients to be better served, he said.

“I think that will help us keep more patients in the Manchester community getting that appropriate level of care than we see now where people are seeking some of those facilities at other locations,” Baxter said. “I think a lot of them are going out of state. I think we see there is a draw to metro Boston.”

Seeking treatment on this side of the border should be cheaper for patients, he said.

Elliot plans to keep its Londonderry cancer center open after the new Manchester facility opens, saying they serve different markets.

Elliot’s crosstown rival, Catholic Medical Center, sends cancer patients needing chemotherapy to the Norris Cotton Cancer Center on CMC’s campus. CMC also performs cancer-related surgeries, but radiation treatment is not done there, said Lauren Collins-Cline, director of communications and public relations at CMC.

“It’s really important to provide comprehensive care to cancer patients close to home,” she said.

Business Health Manchester

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