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John Grant Opinion: Future Florida Hospital Will Be a Global Beacon of Hope for Cancer Patients

According to the World Health Organization, in 2020, 10 million people died from cancer across the world. If you talk to most people,‭ ‬they will tell you they‭’‬ve been touched by cancer in some way.‭ ‬I sure have.

The state of Florida has been a leader in cancer treatment and that tradition continues‭ ‬with a new Moffitt Cancer Center in Pasco County.‭ ‬It will be called Speros, FL. The name is a derivative of the Latin verb‭ “‬Sperare‭” ‬meaning‭ “‬to hope.‭”

The facility is being‭ ‬built on‭ ‬775‭ ‬acres‭ ‬that are‭ ‬easily accessible to‭ ‬Tampa International Airport.‭ ‬In fact,‭ ‬it will encompass‭ ‬16‭ ‬million square feet and will be larger than Downtown Tampa.‭ ‬The project‭ ‬officially‭ ‬starts later this year and will bring the best and brightest minds in cancer research and treatment to our state.‭ The facility is also‬ expected to create about‭ ‬14,500‭ ‬new jobs.

The state-of-the-art‭ ‬groundbreaking research‭ ‬center‭ ‬will include Carbon Ion‭ ‬Therapy.‭ ‬Even though the treatment was discovered in the‭ ‬1970s in the United States,‭ ‬there are currently no carbon ion treatment centers in North America.‭ ‬The future of cancer treatment is expected to rely heavily on this proton therapy.

Cancer treatment is constantly evolving and in the past few years,‭ ‬there have been significant breakthroughs, including‭ ‬the DNA sequencing of more than‭ ‬12,000‭ ‬cancer tumors and a new test for diagnosing pancreatic cancer‭ – ‬one of the deadliest cancers. Precision Oncology is another great new weapon in fighting cancer.‭ ‬This involves studying the genetic makeup of cancer tumors in individual patients,‭ ‬identifying changes in cells that might be causing cancer to grow and spread,‭ ‬then personalizing treatment.

Speros FL will be the most ambitious project in Moffitt’s‭ ‬36-year history and‭ ‬it will‭ ‬expand the hospital’s global footprint.‭ ‬Moffitt describes it as‭ “‬A dynamic hub for biotech and life sciences enterprises‭ ‬that‭ ‬will meet at the intersection of medicine,‭ ‬pharma,‭ ‬education,‭ ‬research,‭ ‬commerce,‭ ‬venture,‭ ‬incubation/acceleration,‭ ‬and wellness.‭”

Last year alone,‭ ‬Moffitt‭ ‬Cancer Centers‭ ‬saw more than‭ ‬598,000‭ ‬outpatient and‭ ‬screening visits.‭ ‬The hospital has treated more than‭ ‬100‭ ‬unique cancers and conditions in patients from all‭ ‬67‭ ‬Florida counties,‭ ‬across all‭ ‬50‭ ‬states,‭ ‬and from more than‭ ‬130‭ ‬countries.‭ ‬I don’t know about you,‭ ‬but it gives me peace of mind that a world-class cancer treatment center is right in our backyard.‭

I was there to participate in the groundbreaking,‭ ‬as I celebrated my more than 30 years as a member of the board.‭ ‬I served with Lee Moffitt in the Florida House of Representatives when we voted to create the cancer center, which has become more than we could have imagined.‭ ‬I was so impressed by this project and what it will mean to the state.‭ ‬Lives will be saved,‭ ‬and the quality of lives will be improved.‭ ‬The treatment and research will provide hope.

Many of us seniors know,‭ ‬hope is a way of life.‭ ‬It involves the‭ ‬courage to turn dreams into reality.‭ ‬Florida residents are lucky to live among these innovators who dare to dream and provide a beacon of hope for the world.

John Grant, a former state representative and state senator,‭ ‬an estate planning attorney, and a member of the National Senior Citizen Hall of Fame, has spent much of his career working on behalf of seniors. John is continuing the advocacy work by heading a new venture called Seniors Across America to continue speaking up for our elderly population.

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