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Cancer Center closure not expected to interupt treatments

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The closure of the cancer treatment facility at Great River Medical Center will not affect most of the patients of local oncologist Dr. Kirby Smith, and most patients will continue to receive care without interruption, including chemotherapy.

On Monday, the Board of Governors for Mississippi County Hospital System was informed that the cancer treatment facility will be shutting down at the end of the month. CEO Ralph Beaty said while the building is owned by GRMC, the business itself was owned by Alliance and was recently sold to a company which does not intend to continue operating it.

This means the center's linear accelerator will be removed and radiation therapy will no longer be offered in Blytheville. About 10 percent of Smith's patients receive radiation treatment, according to a spokesperson.

Other services, such as chemotherapy and other treatments provided by Dr. Smith, will continue.

On Monday, County attorney Dan Ritchey said the freed-up space at the building could be good financial news for the hospital system, which will now be able to lease out the extra office space.

The change is expected to be complete by Feb. 1.

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