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The Tidelands Health Newsroom

Published on February 20, 2004

New Cancer Center Opens

Friday, February 20, 2004

Francis B. Ford Cancer Treatment Center

Francis B. Ford Cancer Treatment Center
Yawkey Medical Park - Georgetown, South Carolina

Georgetown, SC – A project that spanned several years from inception to completion has become a reality, with the opening of Georgetown Hospital System’s new Francis B. Ford Cancer Treatment Center.

The latest Georgetown Hospital System project represents the addition of radiation therapy services to the hospital’s existing cancer program, which is accredited by the American College of Oncology. Chemotherapy has been locally available for some time, but cancer patients who required radiation therapy as part of their overall treatment plan have been forced to leave the county for treatment -- until now.

The new 15,000 square foot facility is located on North Fraser St., a few miles from Georgetown Memorial Hospital’s Black River Road campus. The project is situated on a 21-acre tract of land known as Yawkey Medical Park, in honor of the Yawkey Foundation who gave Georgetown Hospital System a $5 million gift in 2003 to assist with development of the new medical park.

The new Francis B. Ford Cancer Treatment Center is a project developed in affiliation with MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, a regional leader in cancer treatment and research. Professional support in the form of a medical physicist and radiation oncologist are provided by MUSC Hollings Cancer Center as part of its project involvement. In addition, the organization will lend support through research findings and offer access to clinical trials.

The Georgetown facility was named in honor of Francis B. Ford Sr., longtime hospital board of trustee member who has served as chairman of the group for nearly 20 years.

Dr. Eric Aguero is the radiation oncologist for the facility. Dr. Darren Mullins is the medical oncologist.

The interior of Georgetown’s new cancer facility features separate areas designated for radiation therapy and chemotherapy services. Included in the offices of Waccamaw Oncology at the cancer center are patient examination rooms and offices, as well as a specially designed area for the delivery of chemotherapy. The serene setting within the chemotherapy area overlooks an outdoor natural vista which includes a fountain and landscaped area. A resource library and retail boutique designed to offer wigs, prosthesis and products of interest to cancer patients also will be located inside the Francis B. Ford Cancer Treatment Center.

Major equipment housed in the Cancer Treatment Center’s radiation therapy area includes a CT simulator which produces tumor images helpful in developing treatment plans and a linear accelerator which delivers carefully targeted radiation. Both pieces of equipment are state-of-the-art and represent the most advanced technology currently available. The linear accelerator is housed in a specially designed concrete vault with wall thickness ranging from 2 ½ to 5 feet.

“This project represents a dream come true,” said F. B. Ford, Sr., longtime chair of Georgetown Hospital System’s Board of Trustees. “The board, administration, doctors and community have worked long and hard to bring this service to Georgetown County. It’s something we’ve needed. Finally we have it,” he added.

Construction on the project began early in 2003. Overall cost of the project is approximately $9 million. General contractor was Robins and Morton Co. of Birmingham, Alabama. Curtis Group Architects of Dallas, Tex., designed the building. Webb Clements provided project management for the new facility.

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Tidelands Health is the largest health care provider in Georgetown and Horry counties. With three hospitals and nearly 50 outpatient locations that stretch from Andrews to North Myrtle Beach, Tidelands Health is improving lives across the Tidelands region.