Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo's new Gulfcoast Cancer Center offers, labs, radiation and chemotherapy

Cancer patients often have to go from place to place to get the treatments they need. A new cancer center strives to make fighting cancer a bit less stressful.

The Gulfcoast Cancer Center — Largo, which opened in January, offers diagnostic imaging, labs, radiation and chemotherapy, all in one spot.

Dr. Jeffrey Paonessa, a medical oncologist who envisioned the center, said patients love the convenience.

The setup also makes it easier for specialists to communicate directly with each other and to tailor treatment plans for their patients, he said.

"There's a lot less room for error when everyone is in the same room looking at pictures in addition to a report," said Paonessa, president of both providers housed in the center, Gulfcoast Oncology Associates and Gulfcoast Cancer Institute.

The 24,000-square-foot center, developed and co-owned by Optimal Outcomes LLC of St. Petersburg, broke ground last year. It sees about 120 to 150 patients a day.

The center provides diagnostic imaging with a positron emission tomography and computed tomography — or PET/CT — machine that lets doctors pinpoint the size, location and metabolic activity of cancer.

And a mammoth, state of the art machine, called a Varian Trilogy linear accelerator, delivers radiation treatments. The machine, which costs more than $2 million, is the first of its kind in Pinellas, according to Tim McMahon, chief operating officer of Gulfcoast Cancer Institute.

Radiation therapists use the accelerator's onboard imaging system and in-room lasers to position patients and enable the device to target tumors with a high degree of accuracy. The machine also rotates around patients to deliver radiation from a variety of angles.

While the facility offers serious medical treatments, elements of the center create a spa-like feel.

High windows let in natural light. Walls are painted with soft neutral colors and adorned with European cityscapes and tropical scenes.

In the radiation therapy room, a faux skylight provides a glimpse of imaginary tree branches. And the chemotherapy room has reclining chairs, a mini coffee bar and a reading area.

Martha Hill, an Indian Rocks Beach resident diagnosed with multiple myeloma, started coming to the center earlier this year.

Her treatment for the cancer, which develops in the blood, includes an oral medication and an intravenous medication for her bones every few months in the center's chemotherapy room, she said.

She says the atmosphere at the center is uplifting.

"There's something about that building," said Hill, 58, who learned Wednesday her cancer is in remission. "You walk in and you feel like you're still outside."

Lorri Helfand can be reached at or 445-4155.

Gulfcoast Cancer Center — Largo

Where: 100 Highland Ave., just north of East Bay Drive

Cost: $9.3 million

Size: 24,000 square feet

Employees: 35

Tenants: Gulfcoast Oncology Associates, which provides medical oncology consultation, chemotherapy treatments and laboratory tests, and Gulfcoast Cancer Institute, which provides radiation oncology services and advanced imaging.

Largo's new Gulfcoast Cancer Center offers, labs, radiation and chemotherapy 04/25/09 [Last modified: Saturday, April 25, 2009 12:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. The winner of 'Survivor: Game Changers?' It has to be Jeff Probst



  2. The Daystarter: Gov. Scott vetoes 'Whiskey and Wheaties Bill'; Culpepper's fate in 'Survivor' finale; to catch a gator poacher; your 2017 Theme Park Guide


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    To catch a ring of poachers who targeted Florida's million-dollar alligator farming industry, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission set up an undercover operation. They created their own alligator farm, complete with plenty of real, live alligators, watched over by real, live undercover wildlife officers. It also had hidden video cameras to record everything that happened. That was two years ago, and on Wednesday wildlife officers announced that they arrested nine people on  44 felony charges alleging they broke wildlife laws governing alligator harvesting, transporting eggs and hatchlings across state lines, dealing in stolen property, falsifying records, racketeering and conspiracy. The wildlife commission released these photos of alligators, eggs and hatchlings taken during the undercover operation. [Courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]
  3. Trigaux: Amid a record turnout, regional technology group spotlights successes, desire to do more


    ST. PETERSBURG — They came. They saw. They celebrated Tampa Bay's tech momentum.

    A record turnout event by the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, held May 24 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, featured a panel of area tech executives talking about the challenges encountered during their respective mergers and acquisitions. Show, from left to right, are: Gerard Purcell, senior vice president of global IT integration at Tech Data Corp.; John Kuemmel, chief information officer at Triad Retail Media, and Chris Cate, chief operating officer at Valpak. [Robert Trigaux, Times]
  4. Take 2: Some fear Tampa Bay Next transportation plan is TBX redux


    TAMPA — For many, Wednesday's regional transportation meeting was a dose of deja vu.

    The Florida Department of Transportation on Monday announced that it was renaming its controversial Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan will now be known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. But the plan remains the same: spend $60 billion to add 90 miles of toll roads to bay area interstates that are currently free of tolls. [Florida Department of Transportation]
  5. Hailed as 'pioneers,' students from St. Petersburg High's first IB class return 30 years later


    ST. PETERSBURG — The students came from all over Pinellas County, some enduring hot bus rides to a school far from home. At first, they barely knew what to call themselves. All they knew was that they were in for a challenge.

    Class of 1987 alumni Devin Brown, from left, and D.J. Wagner, world history teacher Samuel Davis and 1987 graduate Milford Chavous chat at their table.