Southampton Hospital’s proposed Phillips Family Cancer Center would be what hospital officials have described as an overdue and much-needed facility for treating cancer patients on the South Fork.
Although plans for the roughly 14,000-square-foot, two-story building slated for County Road 39 in Southampton Village are still preliminary, Southampton Hospital President and CEO Robert S. Chaloner said last month that the center would house the region’s first radiation oncology unit, with the next closest one being in Riverhead.
That alone, he explained, would provide a tremendous benefit for patients living on the South Fork.
“It’s something we’ve been hearing from the community for a long time. Imagine someone with cancer from East Hampton or Montauk having to travel to Commack,” Mr. Chaloner said. “We know the community needs it, and we want it to be something the community loves.”
The facility will be equipped with a state-of-the-art linear accelerator, the type of machine most commonly used to administer radiation treatment. And, in addition to radiation services, which are not offered at the hospital on Meeting House Lane, the center will also feature 14 chairs where patients can sit and relax while undergoing infusion therapy—a combination of radiation and chemotherapy that is currently offered only at private practices in the area.
Mr. Chaloner said the center will also include additional space for support services such as counseling for cancer patients and workshops to educate people about different types of cancer.
The planning of the facility also reflects Southampton Hospital’s recent partnership with Stony Brook University Hospital. Dr. Samuel Ryu, chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Stony Brook, has helped select the equipment for Southampton’s center and will serve as the director of radiation oncology service there as well, according to Southampton Hospital spokeswoman Marsha Kenny.
Noting the upgrade of the emergency room and the creation of the Audrey and Martin Gruss Heart and Stroke Center, Ken Wright, chairman of Southampton Hospital’s board of directors, said the Phillips Family Cancer Center is just a continuation of the institution’s mission to ensure it provides patients with the most advanced technologies available in the medical industry.
“This will be just one more step in that process of bringing state-of-the-art technology and therapies to our community,” Mr. Wright said.
Mr. Chaloner declined to provide an estimated cost for the center, saying it is too early in the planning stages to do so, but said it would be paid for with fundraising as well as a large grant given to the hospital by the Phillips family, for which the facility is named. He also declined to specify the amount of the grant, saying only that it was significant, but still not enough to cover even half the cost of the center. “It’s a gift, actually,” he said of the Phillips family’s contribution.
Mr. Wright said the project needs a number of approvals before construction can begin, including from the state and Suffolk County health departments. The building plans also have to go before several Southampton Village regulatory boards, and are currently before the Planning Board, with the first public hearing scheduled for February 1.
Once construction begins—Mr. Chaloner said he hopes that ground will be broken sometime this year—Mr. Wright estimates that it will take about a year before the building is completed. It is being designed by Bridgehampton-based architect Blaze Makoid.
Both Mr. Chaloner and Mr. Wright agreed that having the Phillips Family Cancer Center be freestanding from the hospital will provide a better overall setting for patients to receive treatment.
“Patients who have cancer often don’t want to be reminded of their sickness. The building can be healing, ” Mr. Chaloner said. “We are really excited about this program. We just hope that the community helps us to get it built.”