Sarasota Memorial planning new comprehensive cancer center

Facility expected to open in three to four years

Photo courtesy Sarasota Memorial Hospital
Photo courtesy Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Sarasota Memorial Hospital is moving ahead with plans to develop a comprehensive cancer center “that will offer services across the entire continuum of cancer care, from prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment, to follow-up care, survivorship and support,” it announced this week.

“The Sarasota County Public Hospital Board approved the first phase of facility planning in October, allocating up to $4 million to begin design of the full-service ‘destination’ cancer center on its main Sarasota campus,” a news release explains.

“Our goal is to create a premier center that provides residents of our community and beyond with access to not only a comprehensive, highly specialized team of cancer specialists, but also the best diagnostic and treatment technologies and most promising clinical trials available,” said Sarasota Memorial CEO David Verinder in the release.

When it has been completed — in three to four years — the cancer center will offer specialty programs for breast, gynecological, gastrointestinal/colorectal and lung cancers, as well as prostate/genitourinary, neuro-oncology, melanoma and hematologic subspecialties, the release notes. Among the multi-disciplinary services will be medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, imaging and diagnostics, physician clinics and patient support services, the release says.

A new Oncology Leadership Group consisting of multi-disciplinary physicians in the community, as well as administrative staff, has begun meeting regularly “to provide guidance as the health system enhances its existing programs and develops new ones involving cancer care, the release adds. Among its initiatives, the leadership group will help develop “collaborative programs focused on best practices, the latest research and evidence-based treatment options and protocols,” the release continues.

The cancer center initiative is being led by Dr. Richard Brown, medical director of Sarasota Memorial’s cancer care services, and Associate Medical Director Dr. James Fiorica, the release says. Brown has served as medical director of Sarasota Memorial’s cancer care services for more than 15 years, the release notes. Fiorica, a gynecologic oncologist who also serves as Sarasota Memorial’s associate chief medical officer, has directed Sarasota Memorial’s Women’s Cancer Specialty Program and research program since relocating from Moffitt Cancer Center in 2005, the release points out.