When Kristen Rahn, Nurse Manager of Radiation Oncology, started at Beebe 19 years ago, the Tunnell Cancer Center on Route 24 near Rehoboth Beach had not been built yet.
“We were seeing our oncology patients at the Lewes Campus and I remember we had such high volumes that we were scheduling patients from 6:30 a.m. all the way through to 10 p.m.,” Kristen recalls. “When we were able to build the Tunnell Cancer Center, it really allowed us to provide the type of patient care we wanted to provide – during normal business hours.”
Beebe’s Tunnell Cancer Center opened its doors in 1995, offering the first radiation treatment center in Sussex County. Beebe’s cancer program provides vast treatment options, all under one roof, in a comfortable and skilled center.
The new South Coastal cancer center, planned for Millville, will continue in this tradition of care.
“When I first came to Beebe, we had eight infusion chairs. Then, when we opened the Tunnell Cancer Center, we had 21 chairs,” said Lisa Henderson, Nurse Manager of Oncology. “With the planning we have been doing for the new cancer center, we will add an additional 10 chairs to start with the ability to add more in the future.”
Kristen, Lisa, and the Oncology Services leadership team have been working hard to plan the design, layout, and flow of the new building, which will be attached to the planned freestanding emergency department.
“This new location is truly being built for our current and future patients,” Kristen said.
Lisa agreed. “We have many patients who travel to Rehoboth from Millville and other South Coastal towns. In the summer, it can take them an hour both ways, which can be hard when you are already not feeling great from your cancer treatment. We are proud to be able to make plans that will ease the burden on our patients.”
Cynthia Gooch Copley, a breast cancer patient, who lives near Millville, said she and her neighbors are excited for Beebe’s South Coastal Health Campus.
“There are so many new people moving into this area, so having the quality care of Beebe right here is going to be a blessing,” Cynthia said. “When you aren’t feeling well, the last thing you want to do is drive a long way for treatment. Having the cancer center and emergency department here in Millville is going to be great for our community, family, and friends.”
Planning teams are still working out the details, but because of the new cancer center, they will be able to offer more services as well.
“When we open the new center, it will free up space here at Tunnell to offer new treatment therapies for our patients, including high-dynamic-range (HDR) imaging and brachytherapy,” Kristen said. “This will continue in our mission to provide the most advanced treatments for our patients, right here, close to where they live, so they do not have to travel far for great care.”
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