“The West Cancer Center has a bit of wind at its back as it heads toward the November opening of its new east campus on Wolf River Boulevard.
Relatives of West Clinic founder Dr. William West have committed a multimillion-dollar gift to the University of Tennessee/West Institute for Cancer Research, the West Cancer Center’s fundraising arm.
The organization isn’t disclosing the amount of the funding, per the request of donors Jack and Betty Moore, but it’s in honor of West – the Moore’s brother-in-law – who lost his mother to breast cancer.
The gift will rename West’s and Methodist Healthcare’s Comprehensive Breast Centers to the Margaret West Comprehensive Breast Center. And when it opens at 7945 Wolf River Blvd. in a few months, West Cancer Center’s new location will include the center, named in honor of West’s mother, on the first floor.
West Cancer Center also has a “growing cadre” of scientists working on understanding the biology of the cancer.
The new state-of-the-art facility will, among other things, give patients the opportunity for comprehensive treatment and care under one roof via things like housing both clinical and research services. Programs and services offered at the new site will include a blood and marrow transplant program, clinical psychology, diagnostic and interventional radiology, a care support program and medical oncology, in addition to the comprehensive breast center.
Schwartzberg said the recent donation will help on a number of fronts, a key focus being research. Along those lines, West Cancer Center has what Schwartzberg called a particular interest in disparities in breast cancer.
“We have a big disparity problem in Memphis, with African-American women dying of breast cancer at twice the rate of white women, and part of that is social issues and part of it may be biological,” he said. “So we’ll be looking at all of those things.”
Indeed, research is baked deeply into the core of his organization.
Earlier this year, the West Cancer Center formally announced the creation of the nonprofit University of Tennessee/West Institute for Cancer Research, a nonprofit public charity dedicated to raising funds for adult cancer research. Dr. West – who founded The West Clinic in 1979 when he opened a two-room, three-physician cancer clinic in Downtown Memphis – was there, and as he spoke, he emphasized the role of hope in cancer treatment, saying hope “comes from research.”
The West Cancer Center also will host a cancer symposium – Multidisciplinary Care: Collaborating for the Cure – next month at the FedEx Institute in Memphis.
The conference, happening Nov. 13-14, is designed to meet the needs of practicing medical oncologists, surgical and radiation oncologists, pathologists, and other health care professionals involved in the treatment of patients with cancer.”