Ochsner plans Baton Rouge cancer center on O’Neal Lane campus _lowres

Ochsner Medical Center-Baton Rouge on O'Neal Lane was to be part of a proposed partnership between Ochsner Health System and Baton Rouge General's parent company that the two health systems abandoned Friday.

Ochsner Medical Center - Baton Rouge plans to open a $12.8 million, 20,000-square-foot cancer treatment center in the medical office building on its O’Neal Lane campus near Interstate 12.

Ochsner Baton Rouge Cancer Center is set to open in October. The facility will have a hematology/oncology outpatient clinic, with chemotherapy and radiation treatment services on the same floor as a primary feature.

Future plans include the addition of breast surgery, thoracic oncology, gynecology oncology, head and neck cancer and Mohs treatment, a surgical technique used to treat skin cancer.

Patients’ ability to see all their physicians on a single floor is an advantage, and their travel burden is lessened, said Dr. Burke “Jay” Brooks, chairman of Ochsner’s Baton Rouge hematology/oncology department.

“Patients don’t have to go from one building to another, from multiple floors to another,” he said. “A lot of patients have difficulty walking. They may be in a wheelchair.”

The average radiation regimen is five days a week for six weeks, so that means patients have to make 30 trips back and forth to a facility.

“All you have to do is look at the interstate system and the traffic, and that’s the advantage that we have in our location,” Brooks said.

Ochsner officials say the timing for expanding cancer care is critical. Louisiana’s rates of death from cancer already are among the highest in the country, and the number of people who will get cancer is rising.

Louisiana will have an estimated 25,070 new cases of cancer in 2016, and 9,110 people will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.

Cancer care for the entire Ochsner Health System is expected to grow by 30 percent over the next five years. The system as a whole treated more than 15,000 cancer patients a year ago.

Ochsner Medical Center - Baton Rouge said it expects to see an additional 1,500 cancer patients in 2016.

Mary Bird Perkins - Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center in Baton Rouge sees about 3,200 cancer patients a year. Baton Rouge General’s Pennington cancer center treats about 1,500 a year.

The Baton Rouge cancer center is the latest addition to Ochsner’s rapidly growing health system. In 2015, the system opened the Iberville Medical Complex. Ochsner Health Center - Zachary, a 15-room primary and urgent care clinic, is scheduled to open in August. Last week, Ochsner unveiled plans for a $360 million expansion at its Jefferson Highway campus in New Orleans.