Here’s the official press release:
CarolinaEast Medical Center and UNC Cancer Care announce a collaboration that will bring cancer care capabilities in the east that were previously only available in the Triangle Region of North Carolina.
“There have been a few red letter, banner days in my career – today is one of them,” said Ray Leggett, President and CEO of CarolinaEast Health System. “This relationship is good for us, good for UNC Cancer Care, and most importantly, good for the residents of eastern North Carolina,” he added.
CarolinaEast will construct a new, leading edge cancer center on the Neuse Boulevard campus that will bring together the many cancer services previously offered by the organization and community under one roof. “We have been providing exceptional cancer care at CarolinaEast and in the local community for decades. We were the first provider in coastal North Carolina to offer radiation therapy back in 1977,” explained Leggett. “The new cancer center supported by our wonderful local clinicians and enhanced by our collaborative efforts with UNC Cancer Care will make the journey to recovery much more navigable and make available specialists, protocols and clinical trials never before available in our region.”
According to the National Cancer Institute/Centers for Disease Control, four of the top 10 counties with the highest annual incidence rates for cancer in North Carolina directly border Craven County. Six of the seven counties in our region are well above the state and national average incidence rates. Roughly, 2,500 residents in Craven, Jones, Pamlico, Carteret, Onslow, Lenior and Beaufort counties are newly diagnosed with cancer every year. Nearly 1000 people die every year.
“I knew this was the right thing to do when we approached the UNC Cancer Care leadership and they wholeheartedly agreed this was a need that must be met and we were the right partners to bring the vision to fruition,” said Leggett.
“This partnership with CarolinaEast will further advance our statewide mission to bring the respected and renowned cancer capabilities for which UNC Cancer Care is nationally known to a greater segment of our population in a setting closer to home,” said William L. Roper, MD, MPH, Stuart Bondurant Professor, Dean and CEO UNC School of Medicine and UNC Health Care, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “We are pleased and proud to partner with CarolinaEast on this important endeavor,” Roper added.
“Collaborations across our state – much like this one with CarolinaEast Health System – are critical to making sure the people of North Carolina get access to the latest research and advances in cancer care,” said UNC Cancer Care Director H. Shelton Earp III, MD. Earp is past director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Lineberger Professor of Cancer Research. “This collaboration will allow us to work with the clinicians , nurses and staff to provide greater access to cancer clinical trials and new modalities of care in a marvelous new setting in eastern North Carolina.” he added.
CarolinaEast will work closely with UNC Cancer Care to identify where gaps in care exist and partner to fill those gaps, lessening the need for residents of eastern North Carolina to have to travel to Chapel Hill or the Triangle for treatment. “Having to venture nearly 150 miles away to receive the necessary care to battle cancer is a hardship not only for the patient but the entire family,” explained Dawn Peele, Executive Director of the Cancer Center. “Through this partnership, many residents will literally be closer to a possible cure because their treatment will be right here in New Bern not almost three hours away,” she added.
“We are excited to bring this capability to eastern North Carolina and proud of the impact it will make on nearly every family in the region for many, many, many years to come,” said Leggett. “This would not be possible without the support of the CarolinaEast Board of Directors, our medical staff and community leaders. CarolinaEast has a reputation for firsts in health care in coastal North Carolina. With continued support, this will be the most significant first.”
Information provided by: Megan McGarvey, Director, Public Relations, CarolinaEast Health System
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