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New $100M cancer facility will be built at Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge

 Our Lady Of The Lake Regional Medical Center
Our Lady Of The Lake Regional Medical Center

Our Lady of the Lake Regional Center plans to break ground on a $100 million stand-alone, multi-disciplinary cancer facility next year, according to state and health officials at a Monday press conference.

The OLOL Cancer Institute will be built adjacent to the hospital’s current footprint and house medical and surgical oncology practices, a chemotherapy center, advanced imaging and diagnostics for treatment, facilities for education and research and a conference center.

“Physical, emotional and spiritual care are proven to play an important role in a cancer diagnosis, treatment and survival,” said Scott Wester, CEO of OLOL. “We are excited to bring all of these services under one roof with our holistic approach to cancer therapy.”

The hospital is finalizing an agreement with an architectural firm experienced in building cancer centers, Wester said during a press conference Monday.

“It's a game-changing announcement,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said at the press conference. “Having world-class care right here in Baton Rouge at this new facility is just going to be a tremendous asset for not just Baton Rouge, but for our state.”

Louisiana had the third-highest incidence of cancer in the United States in 2018, according to data from the National Cancer Institute.

The Institute will be led by Dr. Daniel Nuss.

“This is an historic investment in cancer care for the Gulf South,” said Nuss. “Patients can have newfound confidence that our advanced surgical treatment and hematology and oncology services can all be found right here in our community and will serve as an easily-accessible destination for those across the Gulf South.”

Edwards said he would push for the center to gain accreditation from the National Cancer Institute, a signal of cutting-edge treatment. There are currently no such designated centers in Louisiana.

“All too often, our residents go outside to seek cancer care, to other facilities throughout this region and out of state,” said Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. “This introduces additional financial barriers, and isolates our residents from their greatest support team, friends and families.”

The Institute, comprised of a team that includes 600 physicians, will collaborate with Louisiana State University and Pennington Biomedical Research to integrate research and treatment.

Missed the press conference? You can watch the live stream here.

Copyright 2021 WRKF. To see more, visit WRKF.

Rosemary Westwood is the public and reproductive health reporter for WWNO/WRKF. She was previously a freelance writer specializing in gender and reproductive rights, a radio producer, columnist, magazine writer and podcast host.

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