US based not-for-profit health system Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) has unveiled plans to build a new cancer centre at its Middlesboro ARH Hospital in Kentucky.  

This announcement was made during a special ceremony in the presence of local and state officials and ARH representatives.  

The $15m construction project is set to enhance local cancer care, enabling residents of Bell County and neighbouring areas to receive cancer treatment closer to their home, without travelling to larger cities.  

It has already secured a $12m appropriation from the Kentucky General Assembly. 

The centre will be equipped to offer comprehensive care and services, such as radiation, medical, and surgical oncology. 

ARH will employ a dedicated team of specialists, oncology nurses, pathologists, radiologists, social workers, and support staff at the new centre. 

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The facility will cater to patients suffering from a range of illnesses, such as chronic leukaemia, blood disorders, lymphoma, cancer, myelodysplasia, and multiple myeloma. 

ARH President and CEO Hollie Harris said: “Patients deserve local access to the best medical care possible and we are excited to provide this long overdue service to another ARH community.” 

Middlesboro ARH Hospital CEO Michael Slusher, who is also a cancer survivor, emphasised the value of the new centre to the community.  

Slusher added: “As a cancer patient myself, I understand the significant value of having a full-service cancer centre in Middlesboro and Bell County. Many patients don’t have the financial means nor the physical strength to make multiple trips out of the region for months at a time to receive chemo or radiation therapy. 

“This makes the fight much easier for us.” 

ARH operates a network of 14 hospitals, speciality physician practices, multi-home health agencies, and various other healthcare related facilities across the Kentucky and West Virginia regions.   

Employing approximately 6,700 people, the health system contributes significantly to the local economy, with an annual payroll and benefits totalling $474m.