Tom and Gayle Benson

On June 15, 2010, New Orleans Saints owner, Tom Benson, and his wife, Gayle, generously contributed $5 million toward the first phase of The Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center. More than $7 million has been raised in Ochsner's ongoing Cancer Center campaign.

Louisiana has the second highest cancer incidence rate and highest cancer mortality rate in the nation. According to the Louisiana Cancer Registry, Ochsner is the largest reporting healthcare facility of new cancer diagnoses in the state. This year, over 2,200 individuals will choose Ochsner for diagnostic expertise, second opinions and treatment. Their diagnoses comprise virtually every known type of cancer.

"Ochsner is a leader in providing healthcare services. They are a leader in our community," Tom says. "The expansion of the Cancer Center, right here in our city, is another important element in the revival of our region. Ochsner's role in this revival and their role as a preeminent leader in cancer care cannot be overstated. My wife, Gayle, and I are proud to have our names associated with such a wonderful institution."

Improving Services for Patients and Families
Currently, there is not a comprehensive cancer center with robust clinical care and research in New Orleans. Ochsner's unique combination of patient care, research and education set the institution apart from other health care providers in the region who are able to provide some, but not all, of the services needed by cancer patients and their families. In addition, a research partnership with LSU Health Sciences Center ensures that clinical and basic research in cancer prevention, treatment and cure receives the highest attention.

In August 2010, the facility opened its expanded Chemotherapy Infusion Center, more than doubling the number of chemotherapy infusion care stations from 23 to 52, and recently opened the chemotherapy infusion group treatment center. Together, both expansions offer serene views of the Mississippi River during treatments and offer patients and their families a choice of care settings. While some stations are designed to facilitate conversation and sharing with fellow patients, other stations provide privacy.

In December 2011, the new facility will house the expanded Hematology/Oncology Clinic that will more than double the number of patient exam rooms to provide care for the growing number of patients at Ochsner.

"Expansion of The Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center will allow us to focus more intently on a comprehensive, multidisciplinary team approach to cancer care. This approach includes combined weekly conferences, where the current cancer treatment guidelines are discussed by all specialists, and through the application of cutting-edge clinical trials for cancer patients," says Dr. Adam Riker, Medical Director of Cancer Services at Ochsner Health System.