We fight cancer — and we will help Georgia

Kane Dawson
Kane Dawson

Ginny Walley is one of the many patients we see at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) who was treated by other facilities before coming to see us.

The Senoia, Ga., resident is a proud breast cancer survivor who beat the odds after being diagnosed with aggressive, stage-3 breast cancer in 2008. It was so aggressive that she underwent a radical mastectomy.

“My doctors here told me I needed so many chemo treatments. If I had gone through with it, I probably wouldn’t have been able to walk because of nerve damage,” said the Coweta County resident, who commuted to our hospital in suburban Chicago. “At CTCA, I had just 12 chemo treatments, and the care they have given me has been a godsend.”

Walley, like thousands of other cancer patients from the Southeast, will have a new option for treatment when we open our state-of-the-art, 50-bed hospital in Newnan – not far from where she lives – next summer. The 212,000-square-foot, all-digital facility will be the fifth CTCA regional destination hospital in the United States, serving patients and their families from across the Southeast.

On Aug. 3, more than 160 cancer patients, survivors and caregivers along with a delegation of state and local officials, community leaders and business leaders joined us in Newnan to officially break ground for the hospital.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Senate President Pro Tem Tommie Williams, among other dignitaries, noted how CTCA will not only deliver high-quality cancer treatment to meet the individual needs of patients and their families, but will also bring 500 desperately needed jobs to Georgia.

Patients will journey to Georgia, via Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport or the interstate highways, from states such as Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and Mississippi.

By law, 65 percent of the patients we serve must originate from outside Georgia’s borders, creating a sense of medical tourism. That’s good for the state right now, given the challenging economic times.

Patients will travel to CTCA for our unique model of care, helping build greater Atlanta’s reputation as a destination health care hub.

While CTCA will create 500 hospital-related jobs, with salaries averaging $50,000, other employment opportunities will surface as hotels, restaurants and retail outlets are born to support this medical destination.

Those who travel to our existing CTCA locations in other states often bring family members or other caregivers. A significant percentage of patients have advanced-stage or complex cancer; and many have been treated elsewhere prior to coming to CTCA.

They come to us for what we call Patient Empowered Care, a model combining state-of-the-art clinical treatments and technology with an array of complementary therapies – such as nutrition therapy, naturopathic medicine, pain management, oncology rehabilitation and spiritual support – to help manage side effects and improve their quality of life.

At CTCA, a multidisciplinary team of oncology experts is dedicated to helping each patient fight for his or her life and beat their specific cancer. Comprehensive cancer treatment is delivered under one roof.

We can’t make the words “you have cancer” – the words no one wants to hear – sound any better by opening a new hospital. But we pledge that CTCA will be a place “where care will never quit’’ for patients and their families in the Southeast.

Dawson was recently named president and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Newnan, scheduled to open in September 2012.