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Funding announced to expand PMC cancer center

Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 8:23 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Pikeville Medical Center’s Leonard Lawson Cancer Center is expanding after an announcement by Congressman Hal Rogers and Gov. Andy Beshear during the 2020 SOAR Summit.

According to PMC Vice President and CEO Donovan Blackburn, the $4.27 million project has been in the planning stages for some time. He said the expansion is all about creating a more comfortable, technologically advanced environment for cancer patients in the area.

“This project created jobs. And it certainly saves lives,” Blackburn said during a news conference Friday. “It will certainly change the way that we are aggressively able to treat cancer and certainly the services that we’ll be able to offer in our own community.”

He said no patient should have to leave the area to find quality care for cancer treatments, which is something PMC has been dedicated to providing for years. He said the last three years were spent creating a program that is as convenient and patient-friendly as possible, from moving the cancer center into the hospital to building a specialty cancer pharmacy and lab on the tenth floor of the clinic building.

“PMC has a long history- over 75 years- of being invested in cancer," he said. ”This wasn’t the beginning. This is more the cherry on top."

Amber Tackett, Assistant Vice President of Patient Services, has a unique relationship with cancer. After working with cancer patients for years, she was faced with a diagnosis of her own. She said she was lucky to be able to stay in Pikeville for treatment.

“Our kids are here. Our families are here. Being able to get my treatment here, for a very rare type of cancer, was just a miracle," said Tackett. “Just knowing the experience that I had, that I got to stay here, and knowing now that (other patients) won’t have to travel? That’s what I’m excited about. We’re gonna be able to help more people stay at home.”

The grant, provided by the Abandoned Mine Lands Pilot Program, will increase the space by 7,000 square feet to add new chemotherapy suites and exam rooms. Two linear accelerators are also on the list of additions, which Blackburn said will enhance radiation capabilities.

“It is upon our leaders and upon us as administrators to make sure that our people within this region don’t have to travel three hours away or move," he said. “We should be able to bring the same advancements in Lexington or Louisville right here to Pikeville Medical Center.”

The expansion also adds 37 new full-time jobs to the center.

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