New cancer center for Texas Oncology, CHRISTUS Health to help meet increased demand

As Tyler grows, so does the need for local cancer treatment
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Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 10:50 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2022 at 10:56 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - “Yes, we’re growing. Yes, people are coming. And I think it’s going to be great for the community.” says Dr. Mark Saunders, the East Texas regional director for Texas Oncology.

The new oncology center is almost complete. The current facility has stood there since 1994. And after much growth, Dr. Saunders tells us this new facility is much needed for the East Texas community.

He said “We’re crammed into corners and everything else. Just trying to make do. So it’s long overdue getting more space.”

The new space will also make it easier for East Texans to stay local when getting cancer care.

“What we want to do is make is possible for the people in Northeast Texas to come right here to Tyler, not have to go to Dallas or Houston or some other big city to get world class cancer care.” says Dr. Steven Curley, MD, the medical director for the Northeast Texas for Cancer and Research Institute.

According to Dr. Saunders, more and more people are needing oncology treatment as Tyler continues to grow.

He says, “We know the population of the Tyler metropolitan area, 21 percent are aged 60 and above. So as our population grows and we age, we’re gonna have the need for more services.”

A few features this place will provide are three new linear accelerators to give radiation therapy and all new imaging equipment like CT scans, PET CT, MRI and ultrasound.

Dr. Curley says, “This is all going to be cutting edge, brand new types of equipment. The PET and CT scans will be the first of their type in Northeast Texas.”

Dr. Saunders says it’s important for the facility to have that focus of treating patients from when they are first diagnosed, to their survivorship years to come.

“A lot of people said they weren’t sure we could get this done, we’ve got it done in four years. I’ve been here four years in July. It’s been great progress and it’s going to be a great program for the people of Northeast Texas.” says Dr. Curley.

The completion date is set for this October. Dr. Curley tells us they will go live with their first patient on October 24.

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