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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