Kilborn Clinic Cancer Institute opens in Fairhope

By Allison Marlow
Posted 8/2/17

The newest treatment, the most advanced equipment, and the most soothing atmosphere are highlights of the new Kilborn Clinic in Fairhope.

The clinic, unveiled last month by the University of …

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Kilborn Clinic Cancer Institute opens in Fairhope

Posted

The newest treatment, the most advanced equipment, and the most soothing atmosphere are highlights of the new Kilborn Clinic in Fairhope.

The clinic, unveiled last month by the University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute, is more than just a new treatment center. It is where the latest successes of research trials are sent so that patients can benefit from science as it is discovered.

Mobile attorney Vince Kilborn donated $1.5 million to make the facility a reality. He said his family has suffered its share of heartache from the disease, including losing his father to pancreatic cancer.

Building this center was a dream, he said.

“I wanted to give back in some small way,” he said. “Here, 60 percent of our doctors are research based. Other institutions don’t have that.”

The Mitchell Cancer Institute boasts an entire cancer control and prevention division, the only academic center of its kind between New Orleans and Atlanta.

Dr. Michael Finan, a gynecologic oncologist and director of the Mitchell Cancer Institute said other centers do good work but what sets the Mitchell Cancer Institute apart is research.

“This is bench to bedside where new treatments and new drugs are used on humans, sometimes for the first time,” he said.

At the Kilborn Center, one of those cutting edge therapies is a futuristic radiation machine that can lock in on a moving tumor, even one as small as a popcorn kernel.

Previously the cancer treatment facility was hidden in a small, close-in space on Thomas Hospital’s fourth floor. Now, the 14,000 square foot clinic is located near the Baldwin County Satellite courthouse. Patients are seen in one of nine exam rooms. Soft light and raw wood accents above give the clinic a lodge-like feel.

What officials are most proud of is the infusion treatment area where up to 16 patients and their families can sit in comfort and receive treatment.

“It’s a really comfortable place and the patients like the comradery here,” said Richard Foote, director of MCI Nursing Services. “They can talk to each other and share experiences.”

The center is also home to the only board certified genetic counselor in the Gulf region. And patients have access to a culinary medicine program to learn how to eat better based on their diagnosis. The staff is also reaching out to community members to teach cancer prevention through community education sessions.

Every service is designed to give cancer patients a team of care to rely on.

“Nobody wants to have cancer but if we can make it more comfortable, more palatable so they don’t feel overly burdened with this diagnosis,” Foote said.