Cancer Center Expansion Underway at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

June 8, 2011

Cancer Center Expansion Underway at Wake Forest Baptist

$125 Million Project Will Create Region’s First Free-standing Cancer Hospital

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has begun site preparation for the construction of a six-floor addition to its Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The $125 million project will add four inpatient floors, one day hospital floor, and one administrative floor, consolidating inpatient and outpatient services in a free-standing cancer hospital, the first such facility in the region.

The expansion will increase the number of oncology inpatient beds to 148 acute care and 44 observation beds, from its current 113-bed complement. The specific cancer care services to be moved to the new facility were selected after a comprehensive review of internal capacity, projected need and demand for oncology inpatient beds.

Cancer is one of the fastest-growing services of the medical center and the inpatient service is at capacity. The project accommodates current and projected cancer-related inpatient volumes, includes a dedicated oncology intensive care unit, and frees up space on the main campus for other services. About 24 additional intensivists – physicians who specialize in the care of critically ill patients – and midlevel providers, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, will join the team of more than 120 clinicians and scientists representing all aspects of cancer care and research. Currently, there are more than 200 cancer-related clinical trials underway at the medical center.

When completed, the cancer hospital will include a total of 530,600 square feet and will feature a courtyard nestled in the center of the cancer hospital’s upper floors. All rooms will be private, make use of natural light and be designed to accommodate families. The new facility is scheduled to open in early 2014.

“This project aligns with our commitment to developing an integrated health care delivery system, and provides the infrastructure required to grow advanced clinical programs – driven largely by our cutting edge research and compassionate care – that will continue to distinguish Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center as a top-tier academic medical center,” said John McConnell, M.D., chief executive officer.  “We truly will be a comprehensive cancer hospital, and offering both inpatient and outpatient services in a single facility will improve patient access, convenience and satisfaction.”

The cancer center is the first in the region to be granted full accreditation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers and was named a Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers? by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA). It is the only cancer center in the Triad, and one of only five in the state, awarded this designation. The Blood and Marrow Transplant Program is accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT), which means it has demonstrated exceptional levels of patient care and outstanding medical and laboratory practices. The Radiation Oncology Department was named the world’s first Leksell® Center of Radiosurgery. It is an international training site for teaching procedures and protocols for stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT).

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports that in the United States there are almost 12 million men and women who have a history of cancer, and that 41 percent of men and women born today will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetime.The North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics most recent reporting indicates there are 227,397 cases of cancer across the state each year.

As one of only 40 institutions in the country to be NCI-designated as a comprehensive cancer center providing advanced cancer care, the expansion project enables Wake Forest Baptist to continue to offer the latest and most effective treatments and technologies.

“Our mission is to care and to cure,” McConnell said. “When it comes to cancer treatment, this expansion enables the medical center to take an outstanding program and put it under one roof which will only enhance the overall patient experience.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: An artist’s rendering of the completed project is available by clicking here.

Media Relations

Bonnie Davis:, 336-713-1597