Residents of Monmouth County will soon have easier access to cutting-edge cancer care, treatments and medicines when Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center opens a new 304,000-square-foot outpatient treatment facility in Middletown in December 2016.
“Construction at the site is currently underway,” said Richard Barakat, deputy physician-in-chief for MSK Regional Care Network and Cancer Alliance. “All the mechanical equipment is in place, the duct work and utilities have been installed, more lighting is being put in for patients … and now we are really focusing on the redesign of the interior space.”
MSK Monmouth will be situated on a 40-acre property at 480 Red Hill Road off Garden State Parkway exit 114.
The Red Hill Road property was home to a three-story, 285,000-square-foot office building last occupied by Lucent Technologies a decade ago.
“What we did was looked at the areas where a significant number of our patients come from,” Barakat said. “This is an area where approximately seven percent of our patients travel to the city from, and this building was available, was large, could be fitted out very well for medical purposes [and] was in a fantastic location being right off the Garden State Parkway.”
When doors open in December, 2016, patients from Monmouth, Middlesex and Ocean counties and other surrounding communities with different cancers such as lymphoma, breast, lung, colon and gynecological cancers, will have access to the most advanced care under one roof.
MSK physicians and nurses will provide services ranging from chemotherapy, radiation oncology, diagnostic and interventional radiology, ambulatory surgery and endoscopy, social work, nutrition and genetics counseling and other support and survivorship services.
“The unique thing is that this is the first site we will be performing outpatient surgery,” Barakat said. “Surgical consultations can be done here, and we will have the tools and the resources to perform minor operations here.”
Barakat said the advantage of having a centrally located site like this is that patients who might have undergone major surgery at the center’s city location may need further treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy, which can make you sick and tired.
He said the central location is making it more convenient for patients and puts less of a strain on their bodies, and on family members.
“The incidence of cancer in and around Monmouth County is expected to increase by 17 percent over the next 10 years,” he said. “This is due in part to population growth and the success of screening programs at detecting new cancers, as well as to the rising median age of the population.”
Barakat said that by MSK Monmouth employing more than 800 clinical trials, new techniques and treatments could be found to combat cancers.
“At MSK we are constantly working to expand the clinical trials to increase the spectrum of studies we’ve gone through and to give us the best outcome and make novel treatments available to our patients,” he said.
The building that will house the center — which was approved by the Middletown Township Planning Board in January 2013 — is currently undergoing renovations to also accommodate more than 120,000 square feet of clinical space, according to Barakat.
Extra room will be used to also create a 50,000-square-foot data center, which will house research, health records and other digital information under one roof.
“This is about doing what’s best for the patients and seeing how to make it more convenient for them, and we look forward to bringing the care to them, making it more local and more patient-friendly,” Barakat said.