Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cancer center may go global

Dr. Silas CharlesDoctor eyes site in Costa Rica

By Susan Jenks
Florida Today

Dr. Silas Charles, the founder of Cancer Care Centers of Brevard, said he recently met with the president of Costa Rica to discuss the creation of a regional cancer treatment center in that nation's capital.

"He's a phenomenal guy," Charles said, referring to Oscar Arias Sanchez, the Costa Rican president, who is a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Albert Schweitzer prize for humanitarianism.

Charles said Arias expressed an interest in the San Jose project, whose estimated initial cost would be $50 million over five years, or $10 million annually - a cost to be met largely through donations.

The center, which would offer comprehensive cancer care from medical and surgical oncology to diagnostics and radiation therapy, may be up in running in about 11/2 years, according to Charles.

It would employ between 75 and 100 people, and involve oncologists, or cancer physicians, from Brevard County as well as across the United States.

The goal is to serve cancer patients from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama.

"These are all dreams," Charles said, stressing the preliminary nature of discussions. "But it is a good thing, and I am happy about it."

The Cancer Care Centers of Brevard has three locations throughout the county, with a fourth center under construction in Titusville and another site outside Brevard in Sebastian.

Charles opened the first center on Merritt Island in 1990.

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