Providence plans to open cancer center

Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2006

ANCHORAGE - Providence Alaska Medical Center is building a cancer treatment center in a move that means patients will not have to look outside Alaska for comprehensive care.

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The Cancer Center at Providence will offer all available treatments, as well as new and often nontraditional services, said center organizers.

Some center staff, including social workers specifically hired to answer patient questions, will offer their time free of charge, said Judy Dierkhising, who came to Alaska to oversee the project.

Dierkhising said she polled Alaskans who have had cancer to find out what they wanted.

"It ended up very, very clearly that people needed education right away," she said. As a result, the new center's main floor will include an expansive library with computers and books as well as nurses, social workers and other professionals ready to answer a variety of questions.

Site preparation has already begun for the new $30 million center, said hospital spokeswoman Karina Jennings. Providence, the state's largest private hospital, is still raising money for the project.

Jennings said the building should open by the end of 2007 or early 2008.



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