UChicago to build freestanding $633M cancer center, city's first

The University of Chicago Medicine is planning a $633 million freestanding clinical cancer center, which will be the city's first and will span 500,000 square feet on its campus on the South Side.

UChicago filed a certificate of need request to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, according to a Feb. 3 news release shared with Becker's.

The new facility will add 128 beds, which will be dedicated to patients with cancer and free other beds for patients with complex and acute care needs. Additionally, it will ease capacity issues the medical center has been experiencing, according to the release.

The cancer center will also address healthcare inequities for residents of the city's South Side, who have a higher cancer burden and less access to care, according to the release.

"Cancer death rates on the South Side are almost twice the national average, and cancer is the second-leading cause of death for area residents," said Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, director of the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center. "This is one of the key reasons we are building this cancer center. Social determinants of health are not only linked to adverse environmental exposures but also to a lack of resources, including access to disease prevention, early detection and high-quality cancer care."

If approved, the center will break ground in 2023 and open in 2026. At least 41 percent of contract money for construction will support minority- and woman-owned firms.

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