OSF HealthCare marked a new era on August 17 with the official groundbreaking for the OSF HealthCare Cancer Institute, a 180,000-square-foot building on the campus of OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.
“For 144 years, it has been our privilege and blessing to serve this community and many others. Over time, the seed that God planted through our pioneer Sisters has grown into a Ministry that has touched hundreds of thousands of lives,” said Sister Judith Ann Duvall, O.S.F., Chairperson of the Boards, OSF HealthCare. “We certainly look quite different now from those humble beginnings, and we will look even more different when this Cancer Institute is completed. But the heart and soul of OSF is constant, beating with the greatest care and love.”
The OSF Cancer Institute will be a regional destination center offering proton beam therapy and brachytherapy, patient education and support spaces, an infusion center and a full range of cancer-related services. The OSF Cancer Institute will be just the second center in Illinois offering proton beam therapy to treat patients, reducing treatment times, side effects and disruption in patients’ and caregivers’ lives.
“This is more than just a building. This facility will provide the opportunity for specialists to come together to collaborate on delivering the best and most advanced treatments for our patients who come from all of the communities that we were called to serve.” said Bob Sehring, CEO, OSF HealthCare. “We are thankful for our collaborative partnerships with the University of lllinois College of Medicine and Illinois CancerCare, which recognized early on the importance of bringing quality cancer care to Central Illinois and beyond.”
“Illinois CancerCare and OSF HealthCare have long been committed to helping patients through their cancer journeys,” said Madhuri Bajaj, MD, Medical Oncology/Hematology, Internal Medicine, Illinois CancerCare. “We will continue to be an independent practice that provides medical oncology and hematology services to OSF HealthCare in Peoria and shared regional sites. Our team is excited about elevating the cancer care experience of our mutual patients in the region with the advent of the new OSF HealthCare Cancer Institute and the treatments and services that it will bring to our area.”
Illinois ranks seventh in the nation for cancer cases with downstate Illinois projected to see 10,000 new cases per year. It is still unknown how the COVID-19 pandemic could impact that number, as people delay seeking care and screenings during the pandemic.
“This is the starting line and is about much more than just this building,” said James McGee, M.D., radiation oncologist at OSF HealthCare. “This is about bringing resources together and exploring new ways of doing things, to think about what it is that the population needs to reduce the burden of cancer in our lives.”
“The OSF HealthCare Cancer Institute in Peoria will bring world-class medical and research capabilities to downstate Illinois. The institute opens new possibilities to improve and transform the lives for cancer patients. The Cancer Center at Illinois is excited about our partnership with OSF to accelerate cancer research – these collaborations will help individuals live healthier and longer lives after a cancer diagnosis. This is a major milestone for cancer care and research in our community,” said Rohit Bhargava, PhD, director of the Cancer Center at Illinois, located at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
The $237 million project has a fundraising goal of $100 million. The timeline for construction will depend on continued philanthropic fundraising efforts, with a goal of providing the first treatments at the center as early as 2023.