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Sound Health is a recurring series that airs twice each month on WGLT's Sound Ideas program.Support for Sound Health comes from Carle Health, bringing care, coverage, support, healthcare research and education to central Illinois and beyond.

Sound Health: OSF St Joseph Medical Center to dedicate new cancer center in Bloomington

Lynn Fulton, president of OSF Healthcare, said that along with advances in treatment options, hospitals are naturally moving toward fewer beds.
Emily Bollinger
Lynn Fulton, president of OSF Healthcare, said that along with advances in treatment options, hospitals are naturally moving toward fewer beds.
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OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington officially dedicates its new cancer center Thursday.

St. Joseph President Lynn Fulton said the $9 million project introduces the practice of multidisciplinary clinics to the Twin Cities. OSF already does those at its facilities in Peoria. The clinics combine radiologists, surgeons, and other specialists in one setting with the patient. Fulton said it saves a lot of appointments.

"It's also efficient for all of the physicians involved because it gives them the opportunity to be able to collaborate real-time on care for the patient," said Fulton in the latest installment of WGLT's Sound Health series.

Fulton said cancer center practices include use of nurse "navigators" to guide patients through the entire treatment process. Genetics testing and counseling for patients and their families is also available at the center.

"Having that allows the clinicians to be able to be very precise in the recipe of care for that patient because certain tumor types do better, or do worse if you are looking at it that way, from different treatments, and genetics testing allows them to identify that," said Fulton.

The center also incorporates a new TrueBeam radiation system by Varian Medical Systems.

"The TrueBeam combines sophisticated imaging, beam delivery, and motion management to accurately and precisely target tumors and protect nearby healthy tissue and critical organs. This technology helps to decrease treatment time allowing for a more comfortable patient experience," said OSF in a release.

The center took about $1 million less to build than OSF projected last December. In August 2020 OSF exited the Community Cancer Center in Normal which used to be a joint venture with Carle BroMenn. Carle BroMenn continues to run that facility.

"By going and building our own center it allows us to be connected to our program in Peoria so that patients here in Bloomington really get the full breadth of services< said Fulton last December.

The Bloomington program will link to OSF's new $250 million Peoria Cancer Center which is expected to open in 2023, although video consultations with specialists in Peoria are already taking place with the opening of the center in Bloomington.

"It's very difficult today to be able to run just a standalone cancer center and that's really what the community cancer center was because it really couldn't connect fully to either system. And today the best treatment really evolves through that connection," said Fulton in December.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.