CarolinaEast Accepts Third Gift in Support of Cancer Center

The leadership of CarolinaEast has accepted the third community gift in support of development of a comprehensive cancer center being planned in partnership with UNC Cancer Care. The gift of $1.5 million is given by Reba Aylward in memory of her husband, John T. Aylward, who lost his battle with cancer in 2012.

An important part of this project is the construction of a new diagnostic center that will be adjacent to the cancer center. Specially designed to accommodate the various patient populations that will utilize the state of the art imaging, the diagnostic center will be known as the John and Reba Aylward Diagnostic Center at CarolinaEast.  

“I feel it is so important that patients who are battling this terrible disease can get the care they need  - imaging, therapy, counselling, support – in one location. And, with the help of the John and Reba Aylward, we are making that happen on the campus of CarolinaEast Medical Center,” said Ray Leggett, President/CEO of CarolinaEast.  

CarolinaEast currently operates a diagnostic center that features leading edge imaging technology in the heart of the thriving McCarthy Boulevard medical community. The goal is to relocate and expand operations from McCarthy to the medical center campus and bringing everything together in one location. “It is not necessary for a cancer patient to have to go across town to receive imaging – it will be available right here,” said Leggett.  

The 80,100-square-foot, three-story cancer center and diagnostic center will be built on CarolinaEast Medical Center’s Neuse Boulevard campus and will house an array of clinical and support services, including chemotherapy infusion, radiation oncology, prevention and early detection programs, psycho-social care, and survivorship care and services, that optimize patient care in a welcoming and nurturing setting. Providing these services in one location will reduce the burden patients face when they must travel to multiple facilities for their care.  

Construction of the $35 million cancer center will begin in early 2017 and is expected to take 14 months to complete. The $15 million diagnostic center will be erected concurrently.  

By partnering with UNC Cancer Care, CarolinaEast Cancer Center can offer its patients the latest cancer care that is informed by UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s innovative basic, translational and clinical research. The patients also can be seen by UNC’s nationally known cancer experts in Chapel Hill in a seamless manner when the complexity of the care requires it.

UNC Lineberger is the only public National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in North Carolina, and one of only 47 in the country. With most of its faculty actively engaged in research, UNC Lineberger can offer patients access to nearly 300 clinical trials of the latest treatments developed at UNC or through affiliation with national clinical trials groups.

This includes the recently opened cellular immunotherapy trials, a promising new approach to treating cancer by reprogramming the patient’s own immune cells to recognize and attack the cancer. UNC Lineberger is the only academic center in North Carolina, and one of only a select few in the United States, that operates a facility that is federally approved to genetically modify patient immune cells for clinical use. Patients from North Carolina and the Southeast United States can now stay close to home to be treated with novel therapeutic approaches that only a handful of cancer centers in the United States can offer. 

“CarolinaEast has enjoyed a strong working relationship with UNC physicians, and with the construction of the new cancer center and a more robust partnership with UNC Cancer Care, cancer patients in eastern North Carolina will have access to level of care that is more comprehensive, more convenient and more advanced,” said Ray Leggett, President/CEO, CarolinaEast Health System.