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New San Antonio Cancer Center Battling Rising Demand for Care

Publication: San Antonio Business Journal, San Antonio

Texas Oncology is still putting the final touches on its newest and largest San Antonio cancer center, yet leadership is already contemplating the need for more brick-and-mortar investment to keep pace with the growing number of people battling the disease.

The Dallas-based company — which struck a deal in 2015 to bring 16 Cancer Care Centers of South Texas into its fold — has opened the doors to its new South Texas Medical Center campus. The 40,000-square-foot center, at Research Boulevard and Huebner Road, cost about $12 million to construct and can accommodate roughly 300 patients daily.

That may not be big enough for very long because of San Antonio’s anticipated population growth, and the spread of cancer and the fact that more people are living with the disease longer and requiring extended care.

“We just underestimated. It’s bad that there are more patients who are sick,” said Dr. Roger Lyons, a member of Texas Oncology’s San Antonio board. “San Antonio is growing rapidly and we have to provide more services. My guess is that within five years, we will regret not having a second floor.”

Lyons said the new cancer center was designed to accommodate potential expansion. But even that contingency might not be adequate to meet the demand.

“This is a state-of-the-art cancer center. It’s the largest free-standing cancer center in this area,” said Texas Oncology Chairman and President Dr. Steven Paulsen.

But he added, “It’s going to be too small. The reason is because cancer is becoming a chronic illness. The good news is that there are going to be people living five, 10, 15 years with a diagnosis that used to kill them inside of 16 months. But the fact that we will have survivors who will need more care long-term means this facility will clearly not be big enough for all our needs.”

Paulsen said the volume of patients seeking care could surpass the capacity at the new cancer center within as little as three years. Already, Texas Oncology is considering the need for additional facilities in San Antonio.

“There may be an opportunity to diffuse some of the pressure on this facility with a new location,” he said. “I think what you will see is there will be a spoke and hub growth pattern. I would suspect we would have at least two new locations here in the not-too-distant future just with the burden of growth.”

Read the full story at San Antonio Business Journal.

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