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Inova Fair Oaks Hospital to launch cancer center

Friday - 9/14/2012, 10:04am  ET

Inova Fair Oaks Hospital will break ground Friday on a $31 million medical office building that will house a radiation oncology cancer center, becoming the fourth hospital within the Inova system to provide radiation therapy.

The 10,000-square foot center will be housed in the bottom floor of the 115,000-square foot office building, the hospital's fourth, that will also include an infusion center and physician offices. Also, it will include space for Inova's "Life with Cancer" program, a compendium of classes, support groups and other services for cancer patients and families.

Currently, most of Inova's cancer services are provided at its flagship campus, Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, with Loudoun and Alexandria hospitals also providing care. But as the population has grown to the west, executives saw a need for radiation therapy and other services there too, said Chief Financial Officer Jerry Seager.

Hospitals nationally have tried to compete on convenience in cancer care, acutely aware of the time cancer patients spend dealing with their disease in frequent doctors' appointments and treatment sessions.

"It is absolutely an indication that the patient population is becoming more dense here to the west," Seager said. "Many of the patients in our primary service area drive to Fairfax. On the one hand, it's not that far. Unless you want to get there in the morning. It's a long way with traffic."

Inova Health System is either currently building or planning more than $1 billion worth of capital improvements across its major hospital campuses, financed through a combination of cash reserves, long-term debt and philanthropy.

Equipment for the cancer center will cost about $9.5 million, Seager said. He targeted early 2014 as an occupancy date.