Photo: Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare
Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare's cancer center expansion supports the hospital's gynecologic oncology program, which Amanda Stephens helps to oversee.
Economic Backbone: Cancer Care
Targeting Ovarian Cancers
The hospital's expansion takes aim at a rising number of late-stage cases.
Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare‘s cancer center expansion, scheduled for completion early this year and adds 13 exam rooms, more space for infusion therapy and lab services.
The project will allow TMH to expedite cancer treatment, upgrade technology and create space for future specialty clinics, says oncology administrator Kathy Brooks.
The expansion also supports the continued growth of TMH’s gynecologic oncology program, the longest established program of its type in Northwest Florida. It’s headed by gynecologic oncologists Amanda Stephens, Christine Fitzsimmons and Jay Allard.
Fitzsimmons says one aspect of the program receiving special attention is late-stage ovarian cancer cases, which are on the rise. “We do not have a screening test for ovarian cancers, and it is normally diagnosed in late stage because there are no good signs or symptoms they present,” she says. “But we are making new improvements in terms of running clinical trials and looking for new drugs to treat ovarian cancer. Obviously, best practice is to find it early, but we don't always have the luxury of doing that.”
Fitzsimmons says there are a number of drugs being developed to treat ovarian cancer, and longevity outcomes are improving.
“In the recent past, people with ovarian cancers weren’t living really beyond four or five years,” she says. “But now we have some ovarian cancer survivors that have gone 12 or 13 years with no recurrences.”