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Ground broken for cancer center in Fort Collins

For immediate release: Jan. 17, 2013

Gary Kimsey, 970.495.7427,

Ground broken for cancer center in Fort Collins that will be a far stride ahead of cancer care in other communities

University of Colorado Health broke ground Jan. 17 on an $11-million, 30,000-square-foot cancer center in Fort Collins that will be a far stride ahead of the traditional way cancer care is offered throughout the U.S.

All diagnostic, treatment and recovery services will be offered within the center rather than in multiple locations, as is common in most communities.

At the groundbreaking ceremony: Dr. Joshua Petit, University of Colorado Health radiation oncologist in northern Colorado, said the cancer center will offer "a seamless experience that will make the cancer journey significantly better for the patient."  
Watch the video above to learn more about the cancer center.
Architectural rendering of the cancer center.

"We're going to have the best cancer center in the nation," said Kevin Unger, president and CEO of UCHealth's Poudre Valley Hospital that took the lead in building the center.

In most communities, patients typically have to travel from one medical office to another medical service—sometimes up to 100 appointments in the first year—bringing about "stress in an already emotionally and physically challenging journey," Unger said.

A lot of community help

Unger said the decision to centralize all services was made upon the recommendation of more than local 100 oncology clinicians, cancer survivors and community members involved in the center's design.

"We found that patients want to remain close to home, with services located together," Unger said. "In our cancer center, patients will typically see multiple specialists in one visit, in one room, with treatment, counseling and other cancer care all within the building."

The 2-story center will be built on UCHealth's outpatient Harmony Campus in the city's southeastern area. Completion is scheduled for 2014.

For Collins mayor Karen Weitkunat, one of the speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony, praised the center as a place that will address "the pilgrimage of healing, of hope, of wellness for people of Fort Collins, Larimer County and northern Colorado."

Elevating cancer-care experience

She said 1,200 Larimer County residents are annually stricken by cancer. "Three out of four families in northern Colorado will be touched by cancer. That makes it very personal, very relevant. The new cancer center will elevate the cancer-care experience."

Dr. Matthew D. Sorensen, UCHealth medical director of oncology in northern Colorado, said the center's goal is to provide excellent, comprehensive care. "The center will allow us to take exceptional care of patients," he said.

Radiation treatment, a vital part of most cancer care, will be offered by a TrueBeam linear accelerator, regarded as the world's most advanced technology for treating cancerous tumors.

The linear accelerator has been in operation since March in the PVH radiation oncology department, which the cancer center will adjoin. More than 3,000 treatments using the linear accelerator have been made in the last 10 months.

Planning and fundraising for the center became a community project during the last seven years.

More than $3 million in funding for the $11-million center came from donations from 3,500 community members. Some contributions were pennies donated by local kids. Students at 11 local schools raised $85,000 for the center by conducting carwashes and other fundraising events. UCHealth will provide the bulk of the funding. 

 -- University of Colorado Health --

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