Medical Center announces $1.5 million gift from Peyton Anderson Foundation

pramati@macon.comJanuary 8, 2014 

The last thing a cancer patient needs is confusion and delays in treatment once the disease has been diagnosed, several speakers said Wednesday at the announcement of a major gift for a new cancer center in Macon.

The Medical Center of Central Georgia’s cancer center is designed to alleviate a patient’s confusion, becoming a one-stop shop for all cancer treatment.

Officials on Wednesday celebrated a $1.5 million gift by the Peyton Anderson Foundation to boost the new $43 million cancer center located in refurbished medical offices at 800 First St.

“Our goal is to be operational by the end of 2014,” said Nancy White, director of oncology services for the Medical Center. “There’s a trilogy of treatment when it comes to cancer -- chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Surgery will stay in the main hospital, but the surgical consults will be done here. Cancer care is often fragmented, going from your primary physician to an oncologist to surgery. There may also be genetic counseling. It can take weeks to coordinate. It can be confusing, especially when a patient is already vulnerable.”

The new center, comprising both hospital oncology services and private practices, could see tens of thousands of patients each year, White said.

There is a 1-in-3 chance that people will get a cancer diagnosis during their lifetime, she said.

She spoke of an advertisement in The Washington Post in 1969 that pleaded for President Richard Nixon to help lead the fight in finding a cure.

Since then, White said, the number of cancer survivors has ballooned from 3 million in 1969 to more than 12 million presently, with a survival rate of about 67 percent.

Some of that success can be attributed to advances in diagnoses and treatment, she said.

Dr. Frederick Schnell, a local oncologist who will have an office in the new center when it opens, likened the cancer center to the hospital’s consolidation of its heart treatment services in the Luce Heart Institute.

“The important thing (with the heart center) was to put it all under one roof and to organize all the people that would be working (there), and that’s what we hope to do in this facility,” he said.

Karen Lambert, CEO of the Peyton Anderson Foundation, said the decision to partner with the Medical Center was relatively easy.

“It’s one of the most important institutions in Macon,” she said. “Its quality of health care is unmatched. It’s very helpful to assist them in building the center, which will have a one-stop shop approach in the treatment of cancer. It will be very helpful to the families of patients and good for our community.”

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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