Hospital opens cancer center
Uvalde Leader News-Facility is first in area to offer radiation treatment
Donors from South Texas and beyond gave $5.4 million to build the Kate Marmion Regional Cancer Center
Uvalde Memorial Hospital will unveil the new Kate Marmion Regional Cancer Medical Center in a public ceremony Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.
The new cancer center will offer radiation treatment to residents of Uvalde and surrounding counties.
Previous to the opening of this facility, cancer patients were required to drive to San Antonio, Houston and other areas for radiation treatment.
This project was the culmination of a year and a half capital campaign that raised over $5.4 million in private funds. The center was built on four acres of land donated by the late Joseph Puccini.
Dr. David Jones will be operating The Clear Springs Center for Cancer Care at the Kate Marmion Regional Cancer Medical Center.
Jones runs similar cancer treatment practices in San Marcos, Kerrville and New Braunfels. He provided the Clinac Medical Linear Accelerator that is in the vault of practice. The accelerator is similar to those used at cancer treatment facilities in areas such as Houston and San Antonio.
Housing this type of radiation equipment requires specific building standards.
“The accelerator is located in the back of the center. The walls surrounding the machine are 4 to 5 feet thick poured with high density concrete. It took a total of 110 thousand pounds of concrete and 11 weeks to pour the radiation vault. The lead-lined door leading into the radiation treatment room weighs 2,000 pounds,” Luke Dunning, general superintendent of D.Wilson construction, said.
Nearly two-thirds of all cancer patients will receive radiation treatment at some point during their illness. Patients undergoing radiation therapy are required to have treatments five days a week and the treatment lasts between 10 to 15 minutes.
An average patient driving to San Antonio for treatment will spend approximately $135 on gas to travel for the treatments per week.
Rose Garza, a nurse specialist at Uvalde Memorial Hospital, has been successful in battling both ovarian and breast cancer. Having experienced driving long distances for treatments she understands how much this new facility means to the area.
“The fact that you can get care right here in our neighborhood and don’t have to travel gives patients more peace of mind. Traveling adds a financial burden, time constraint, and adds to the overall effects that the treatments take on a patient’s energy level. This building will give cancer patients and survivors more hope to stay alive, not just here in Uvalde but in the surrounding areas.”