BELLINGHAM - Carol Brumet walked through the new PeaceHealth St. Joseph Cancer Center, leading a small group on the tour of the $23 million facility that brings its post-surgical cancer care under one roof.
The Bellingham center at 3301 Squalicum Parkway opened Dec. 10.
PeaceHealth officials said patients are now able to see their cancer specialists and receive chemotherapy, radiation therapy and support services in one location - instead of in three separate locations, as had been the case previously.
A community celebration and tour of the facility is set for Saturday, Jan. 12.
Brumet, the program coordinator and outreach person for the cancer center, showed a small tour group one of two new Varian linear accelerators used for radiation therapy, some of the 18 bays used for infusion therapy, the oncology clinic, and an area where patients receive complementary therapy such as massage, acupuncture and Reiki.
There are efforts to make the center soothing, from the artwork on the walls in the lobby, to a faux window above a linear accelerator that shows blue skies and a flowering tree branch, to cushiony recliners in the infusion area, to healing gardens.
In the resource center, which is fronted by a fireplace, Brumet talked about books and showed a room containing wigs of different colors, for those patients who need them.
"We have a full wig bank. We have scarves. We have hundreds of wigs, all free," Brumet said.
Other services in the one-story, 35,000-square-foot cancer center include pharmacy, laboratory, dietitian, chaplain and social work.
The new center was built with expansion in mind in that a second story could be added.
Donors contributed nearly $10 million and PeaceHealth $13 million for the building behind the old cancer center. (The last radiation treatment in the old building will be in February.)
"This center is their center. This is something the community has made happen," said Dr. Jennie Crews, the center's medical director.
The cancer center is designed to provide a "peaceful, relaxing setting," and patients will benefit from better communication among doctors and other providers who will work in the same building, PeaceHealth officials have said.
IF YOU GO
Two events will mark the opening of the new PeaceHealth St. Joseph Cancer Center. They are:
Totem pole ceremony Friday, Jan. 11. A totem pole created by Jewell James, Lummi Nation master carver, will be raised outside the new cancer center at 3301 Squalicum Parkway in Bellingham. The event will run noon to 12:30 p.m. James donated the totem pole.
Opening celebration Saturday, Jan. 12. Welcoming remarks and communities of faith blessings are 1 to 1:45 p.m. at the Health Education Center, which is adjacent to the new cancer center. Self-guided tours of the new facility run 1:45 to 3 p.m. Refreshments, raffle drawings and free chair massages also will be offered.