Cancer Treatment Centers Of America Creating Cancer-Only Inpatient Sites In Phoenix Area

Published: Saturday, April 4, 2020 - 3:04pm
Updated: Saturday, April 4, 2020 - 9:36pm

While the Arizona's health care system scrambles to increase capacity to treat coronavirus cases, cancer patients still need urgent and lifesaving treatment. 

As the coronavirus curve climbs, Dr. Pat Basu says another curve waits behind it — that of deferred treatment for patients with chronic illnesses like cancer and heart disease.

Basu is a radiologist and current chief executive officer of Cancer Treatment Centers of America. He served as a White House fellow and advisor to the Obama administration. He says capacity to treat cancer and other chronically-ill patients needs to be maintained, or else the country might see a secondary spike in deaths in people whose conditions weren't treated effectively.

“I think cancer is at the top of the list for this, it just can’t have a second curve stacking up on them," Basu said. "The cancer cannot wait for COVID-19 — the cancer needs to be treated.”

His company is boosting its capacity to treat cancer patients who would otherwise go to local hospitals.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America, which has several facilities in the Phoenix area, is creating cancer-only inpatient centers where several hundred immunocompromised cancer patients can safely receive treatment. 

Basu says this is a win-win: General hospitals will have more flexibility, and cancer patients can focus on treatment in an area free of possible coronavirus infection.

“For decades the absolute guiding principle, the bedrock of cancer therapy to this horrible life threatening disease was get treated early, get treated consistently and complete your treatment," Basu said. "So we can’t all of a sudden turn our back on that mantra."

Basu says the facilities used for cancer patients will take the same precautions that regular hospitals take to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including temperature checks and visitor restrictions.

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