High-tech cancer center opens doors

The newly completed Good Samaritan Cancer Center uses nature to create  a supportive setting for  patients. Photo by Teresa McCallion -
The newly completed Good Samaritan Cancer Center uses nature to create a supportive setting for patients. Photo by Teresa McCallion
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By Teresa McCallion

The Courier-Herald

The new Good Samaritan Cancer Center is designed not only to bring cancer care departments and services under one roof, but to do it in an environment that is conducive to healing.

The public will have an opportunity to view the results of the $16 million project Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The facility, located at 400 15th Avenue S.E in Puyallup, is part of Good Samaritan Hospital's multi-phase, $220 million development plan. In December, the hospital opened a new West Wing Clinical Unit, featuring four surgery suites and a 14-bed intensive care unit. The next project involves expanded cardiovascular services and a new 150,000-square-foot emergency department and patient care pavilion.

The hospital is a comprehensive, private not-for-profit medical center serving the growing population of the greater Puget Sound region.

"We've always done a great job treating cancer, now we can do it in a state-of-the-art center," said George A. , president and chief executive officer of Good Samaritan Hospital.

Some of the world's most advanced cancer diagnostic technology, chemotherapy and radiation treatment services will be housed within the 37,000-square-foot facility. The integrated center will also include an expanded cancer research laboratory and extensive support services for both patients and their caregivers.

The project represents the culmination of 15 to 20 years of effort, oncologist and hematologist Dr. Richard Ostenson said.

"It is an enormous step forward," he added, recalling the cramped office space and multiple locations the new center replaces. The new research lab, previously located in a small house, will provide access to clinical trials.

Jason McCleary, architect and designer for Kaplan McLaughlin Diaz, said the prevailing concept for the cancer center is hope. Extensive research into the physical environment of a hospital provided the basis for numerous design decisions meant to bring order out of the "dis-order" of cancer.

From the water feature at the entrance to the numerous windows providing sweeping vistas of the valley, the center creates a supportive setting that designed to have a positive effect on patient's outcomes and improve overall healthcare quality, McCleary said. More than 50 pieces of artwork, provided at a discount by local artisans, grace the walls and alcoves.

Chemotherapy patients are already receiving treatments in the warm, sun-filled infusion center. Evidence suggests natural light, calming nature views and a communal environment can be effective in reducing stress and provide a positive benefit for patients. Of the 100 to 125 patients a day treated in the west-facing lounge, approximately 40 are receiving chemotherapy.

In addition to Good Samaritan Hospital, the new center combines several of the region's leading cancer care providers under one roof. Advanced technology such as the combined PET/CT (positron emission tomography/computerized tomography) scanner, allows doctors to merge anatomic images with physiological and metabolic data. Offered as part of Rainier Oncology Professional Services and Tacoma Valley Radiation Oncology, it is the first of its kind in the South Sound. In addition, two linear accelerators, used primarily to treat prostate cancer, will increase the number of patients the providers can see from approximately 50 a day to 80.

Much of the money to build the facility was raised by the Good Samaritan Foundation. Although the group has already contributed $5 million, they are still working to raise the final $850,000 for the center.

For more information about the open house, go to or call 253-697-4040.

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