Duke broke ground today on a big new cancer center, one half of a $700 million construction project designed at least in part to enhance the health care system's global brand.
The cancer center, slated to open in 2012, follows a similar project at UNC Chapel Hill, which just opened its own cancer hospital.
The Duke facility will put cancer research and clinical services under one roof and will come as cancer rates continue to rise. The N.C. health department has predicted a 16 percent hike in cancer cases from 2006 to 2011, with a 21 percent hike in the Triangle over that same time period.
Jarring stuff, and sobering enough to prompt Gov. Beverly Perdue, who attended the Friday ceremony, to say "I don't ask if I'll be diagnosed, but when, because it's so prevalent among us."
For more, read Saturday's News & Observer.