University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center

More from this show

The new University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in downtown Phoenix is expected to open in 2015. The new outpatient clinic at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus will offer comprehensive cancer services. Medical Director of the University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Dr. Edward Donahue, talks about the new cancer center.

Jose Cardenas: Thank you for joining us. The University of Arizona cancer center at St. Joseph's hospital and medical center in downtown Phoenix is scheduled to open in 2015, the latest in a series in the valley. Joining me is Dr. Edward Donahue, medical director of the University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph's hospital. Thank you for joining us. As I understand, you currently have an appointment at St. Joe's and are practicing oncologist with a focus on breast cancer.

Dr. Edward Donahue: That's correct.

Jose Cardenas: As we noted in the introduction, there are a number of cancer centers that have opened up in the Phoenix area. Why this one? Is there a need?

Dr. Edward Donahue: I believe there is a need. The first cancer center in Arizona was form in Tucson by the Arizona cancer center in the early 1970s. We saw the Mayo Clinic come to Phoenix several years ago. They have a comprehensive cancer center. M.D. Anderson has opened a post in the east valley which is connected to their organization in Texas. But this is a very large city we live in. Cancer services are traditionally or have been at the outskirts of the city, north Scottsdale, the Far East valley. We have not had a presence in downtown Phoenix.

Jose Cardenas: So this will be the first one centrally located?

Dr. Edward Donahue: Yes. I think it's ironic that it is. With University of Arizona being the first cancer center in the state joining forces with the first hospital in Phoenix, St. Joseph's hospital founded in 1895, so it's a great combination of our clinical services and research services offered by the University of Arizona.

Jose Cardenas: We have some artists' Reynolds rings of the building that's going to be constructed. We'll put them on the screen now. Give us a sense as the pictures come up for how this is all going to work. There will actually be two sites, the one that's pictured there is the one that will be, what, on Van Buren?

Dr. Edward Donahue: 7th street and Fillmore. That's the outpatient cancer services which will be provided in this five-story building. It will provide a full range of services from outpatient imaging, infusion services for chemotherapy, radiation therapy, there will be a breast center within the walls of the building. Interventional radiology, and cancer specific specialty areas in 10 or 12 areas.

Jose Cardenas: The inpatient care will be at St. Joseph's?

Dr. Edward Donahue: That's correct. There provide all inpatient services necessary for cancer care.

Jose Cardenas: We know that some cancers have higher rates of incidence or mortality rates in different groups. One of those is Hispanics. With respect to breast cancer tell us about this.

Dr. Edward Donahue: Well, breast cancer is the most common cans they're occurs in women, and the second leading cause of death in women in the United States. What we see is that the onset of breast cancer in our Hispanic population who have moved to the United States occurs or is detected at a much later rate than it is in people who live here in the United States. It has to do I believe with our patients, Hispanic patients not having the ability to have the screening that is afforded to other segments of the population. So most cancers that are found in Hispanic women are detected by them during self-examination as opposed to the mammogram detection done in regular type screening. Our focus has been on devising new ways to treat breast cancer but one of our new focus has to be ways to prevent breast cancer from happening. So that we can encourage women to live healthy lifestyles avoid excessive alcohol, maintain their weight, regular exercise which we know does reduce one's risk of developing breast cancer.

Jose Cardenas: There's been some controversy about the efficacy of mammograms or the age when women should have them.

Dr. Edward Donahue: That's correct. Some government standards have recommended that mammograms be performed every two years as opposed to annually as recommended by the American college of surgeons, college of obstetrics and gynecology. The one issue with screening on the two-year basis is that in the 40 to 50 age group where 10 to 15% of breast cancers occur, you are delaying that imaging to a two-year basis rather than annually. Missing the opportunity to detect those breast cancers at an earlier stage when they are easier to treat.

Jose Cardenas: You would be an advocate of more regular screening?

Dr. Edward Donahue: Yes.

Jose Cardenas: So given the location of this cancer center, does that mean that there's a greater likelihood that the population base that it will serve will be Hispanic?

Dr. Edward Donahue: It will be a part of the population base. We are an inner city hospital, if you will, and our doors are open to all who come to see us. We anticipate treating everyone here in the city.

Jose Cardenas: Let's go back to the genesis of this collaboration. It's been a long time in the making I understand. Maybe seven or eight years. How did this come to be?

Dr. Edward Donahue: Well, the dedicated efforts of Linda Hunt, Patti white at St. Joseph's hospital and the efforts of the Arizona cancer center with Dave Alberts and Thom Browne plus the support of the Arizona board of regents, Stuart Flynn in Phoenix at the college of medicine, and Weaver Hart, the new president of the University of Arizona. We laid the groundwork over the past several years and just dedicated hard work many, many hours of hard work plus negotiation to make this happen. The grounds breaking we saw earlier today is very exciting. We finally have shovels in the grounds. The building that you showed earlier on the screen will be realty in less than two years.

Jose Cardenas: In terms of the initial staffing how many will be employed at the two locations?

Dr. Edward Donahue: Employment ratio at the hospital will not change. We're going to have outpatient clinics in many different areas of breast cancer care as I mentioned earlier, and we'll have physicians at the outpatient clinic collaborating with physicians at St. Joseph's hospital and also with our community physicians throughout the valley. We will be utilizing talents of all specialists throughout the valley who currently work with St. Joseph's hospital so that their patients can receive the care they require downtown and go back to their own doctors in different parts of the community.

Jose Cardenas: Doctor, last question, do you suspect we'll see more cancer centers in the Phoenix area after this is up and running?

Dr. Edward Donahue: I don't believe so. We'll have the geographic presence downtown, in the north valley at the Mayo Clinic clinic, cancer treatment centers in the west valley and M.D. Anderson in the east valley.

Jose Cardenas: We have the valley covered.

Dr. Edward Donahue: I believe we do.

Jose Cardenas: Thank you for joining us on Horizonte.

Dr. Edward Donahue:Medical Director of the University of Arizona Cancer Center, St. Joseph's Hospital;

A graphic for the Arizona PBS news show,
airs April 27

New and local

Illustration of columns of a capitol building with text reading: Arizona PBS AZ Votes 2024

Arizona PBS presents candidate debates

Earth Day Challenge graphic with the Arizona PBS logo and an illustration of the earth

Help us meet the Earth Day Challenge!

Graphic for the AZPBS kids LEARN! Writing Contest with a child sitting in a chair writing on a table and text reading: The Ultimate Field Trip
May 12

Submit your entry for the 2024 Writing Contest

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: