Port Huron Hospital, a 186-bed, not-for-profit community hospital located in Port Huron, Michigan, and McLaren Health Care, a fully integrated health network headquartered in Flint, Michigan, have jointly filed a letter of intent with the Michigan Department of Community Health to construct a $20m state-of-the-art cancer centre in Port Huron.

Construction of the facility is anticipated to begin in fall 2014, with an expected opening in 2015.

The project includes new imaging services and the purchase of an Elekta Versa HD linear accelerator for radiation therapy.

The new facility will strengthen access to new therapies and treatments including infusion therapy, radiation therapy, additional imaging technology and ample space for patient and community education.

McLaren Health Care operates the largest network of community-based cancer centres in the state. The new Port Huron cancer centre, yet to be named, will be managed locally.

The new relationship also connects patients with McLaren’s new proton beam therapy.

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In addition, the new facility will house all of Port Huron Hospital’s traditional cancer treatment and resources for an integrated patient experience.

According to the latest statistics from the Michigan Department of Community Health, cancer incidence trends in St. Clair County have increased by 6.5% over the last 15 years.

"This multi-million investment is the first of many expansion efforts from which patients will benefit."

Port Huron Hospital president and CEO Thomas DeFauw said that McLaren has committed to significant investments for improving the hospital’s facilities, growing its services and expanding its local market.

"This multi-million investment is the first of many expansion efforts from which patients will benefit," DeFauw added.

"It’s a great example of the value our new relationship with McLaren will bring to the community."

The decision to proceed with the expansion of oncology services comes just six weeks after the Blue Water Health Services Board announced it would be joining McLaren Health Care.

The definitive agreement, expected to be finalised over the coming months, will make Port Huron Hospital McLaren’s 12th member hospital.