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. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium


    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  2. Memorial for Snooty the manatee, postponed because of Irma, to be held Sunday


    A public memorial to celebrate the life of 69-year-old Snooty the manatee will be held at the South Florida Museum on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

    Snooty , the world's most celebrated manatee, begs for another slice of apple in his pool in the Parker Manatee Aquarium at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton in 2008. Snooty was 60 then. [Times 2008]
  3. Residents wade through a flooded road after the passing of Hurricane Maria, in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Friday, September 22, 2017. Because of the heavy rains brought by Maria, thousands of people were evacuated from Toa Baja after the municipal government opened the gates of the Rio La Plata Dam. [Associated Press]
  4. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem


    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  5. New earthquake, magnitude 6.1, shakes jittery Mexico


    MEXICO CITY — A strong new earthquake shook Mexico on Saturday, causing new alarm in a country reeling from two still-more-powerful quakes this month that have killed nearly 400 people.

    Locals play pool at a venue in Mexico City's La Condesa neighborhood, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, four days after the 7.1 earthquake. The upscale Mexico City neighborhood was one of the hardest hit, with more than a half-dozen collapsed buildings in the immediate vicinity. The few Condesa residents who ventured out Friday night said they were anxious for relief from an anguishing week. [Associated Press]