Gayle and Tom Benson and Ochsner Cancer Team Break Ground on $20 Million Cancer Center Expansion



(from left) Gayle Benson and Tom Benson break ground at the site of the Cancer Center expansion on Jefferson Highway.

NEW ORLEANS – Today, representatives of Ochsner Health System and New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owners Gayle and Tom Benson officially broke ground on the multimillion dollar expansion of the Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center at Ochsner Medical Center – Jefferson Highway.

The addition, the result of a $20 million gift from the Bensons, will double the size of the Cancer Center, increasing capacity to offer more high-quality cancer services and advanced clinical research making it one of the leading comprehensive destinations for cancer care across a multi-state region.

The new building will add 100,000 square feet over five floors, but the expansion offers more than just extra space. It reinforces Ochsner’s commitment to collaborative, patient-centered care using the latest technology, innovative treatments and a compassionate, holistic approach.

The Cancer Center will add more than 26 personalized and semi-private patient chemo infusion stations against the beautiful, relaxing backdrop of the Mississippi River, as well as dedicated infusion and clinic spaces for Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) patients. The Lieselotte Tansey Breast Center, currently located across Jefferson Highway, will move to the Benson Cancer Center to further integrate the multidisciplinary treatment approach. 

“Gayle and I are thrilled to break ground on the expansion of the Cancer Center,” said Tom Benson. “It makes us so happy to know that here in New Orleans, we have world-class cancer treatment and research available. Cancer patients no longer need to travel out of state to feel they are getting the best possible care.  The best possible care is here – at Ochsner. Their survival rates and accolades prove it. We are so pleased with our partnership with Ochsner and can’t wait to see the expansion when it is complete.”

Since its opening in 2010, the Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center has cared for patients from 49 states and 22 countries, and has five-year survival rates for liver, lung, colon and esophageal cancer, among others, that are consistently over the national average.

Additionally, Ochsner will continue to grow its already robust clinical cancer research program, offering its patients access to early-phase clinical trials, cutting-edge drugs and anti-cancer agents that others cannot offer. The health system will cultivate programs such as the Hereditary Cancer Clinic and Program which concentrates on genetics and genomics, and the Precision Cancer Therapies Program which offers early-phase clinical trials and access to more innovative therapies that incorporate genome mapping.  

“At Ochsner, our collaborative, multidisciplinary approach and unique programs set us apart from others,” said Warner Thomas, President and CEO, Ochsner Health System.  “Thanks to the continued generosity of Gayle and Tom Benson, we will have greater capacity to offer cancer patients across the Gulf South Ochsner’s high-quality cancer care, cutting-edge treatment options and clinical trials not available anywhere else.”

Another highlight of the expansion will be the patient wellness space. This new space will include areas dedicated to yoga, meditation, patient education and support groups. Future plans include a cosmetic and wig boutique, food and beverage options and services such as massage and acupuncture.

“According to the National Cancer Institute, 40 percent of Americans will one day receive a cancer diagnosis,” said Dr. Brian Moore, Interim Director, Benson Cancer Center. “We understand that diagnosis affects more than just your physical being. That is why we are so proud of our new patient wellness area which will offer patients easy access to additional therapies that focus on mental, emotional and spiritual health.”

Tomorrow, Nov. 10, Ochsner will host its 5th annual Moonlight and Miracles Gala which raises money for cancer services and research at Ochsner. Gayle Benson serves as chairwoman along with a committee of Miracle Maker volunteers. Since its inception in 2013, the Gala has raised $4.5 million to benefit comprehensive cancer services across the health system.

The Ochsner Cancer Network across the Ochsner Health System provides multidisciplinary care for adult and pediatric cancer patients. These patients benefit from a collaborative approach to cancer care by a highly skilled team of physicians, oncology nurses, social workers, researchers, pharmacists, therapists and other healthcare professionals. The Ochsner Cancer Network is dedicated to cancer research and new cancer treatment development, bringing innovations to the fight against cancer— including more clinical trials than anywhere else in the region. Ground breaking research is made possible by the generosity of our donors. If you'd like to donate and help Ochsner save more lives, please www.ochsner.org/giving.

A rendering of the new expanded center.

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