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Work starts on $8 million cancer center in Manteca
Dr. Amarjit Dhaliwal, left, shakes hands with Bill Filios of AKF Development as Congressman Dennis Cardoza looks on during the groundbreaking for the Great Valley Cancer Center. - photo by HIME ROMERO

The groundbreaking for an $8 million Central Valley Cancer Center in Manteca was a day to remember Friday for Dr. Amarjit Dhaliwal and his wife “Rupee”.

Mark Lisa, CEO of Doctors Hospital of Manteca, has philosophically partnered with the oncologist in the project that will include the hospital leasing one of three buildings on the campus for a 6,000 square foot outpatient Doctors Hospital of Manteca Imaging Center offering PET, MRI and CT scans. Health care experts have termed it “a significant development for Manteca.”

The facility is being built off Norman Drive in Spreckels Park behind J&M Equipment.

Dr. Dhaliwal made special mention of his wife doubling as his real estate broker, who without her, he wouldn’t have been able to buy the land from his good friend Bill Filios.  He also wanted to thank his medical partner, Dr. Robert Levy, for his guidance and support in the project.

 “I would like to thank Mark Lisa for his leadership role and his vision in helping us put this project together,” Dhaliwal added.  

The cost of the center some five years ago would have been as much as $16 million, the oncologist said.  Because of the weakened economy the project is costing half of the originally estimated amount today.

He said he said he really appreciates the sincere support he received from every member of the medical staff and from the hospital board of directors, the city of Manteca, Mayor Willie Weatherford, and all the people working at the planning department who he said have been “really helpful” in the project.  

The Doctors Hospital staff had prepared a special buffet luncheon for the 100 plus guests at the ceremony that was held in and around two large 20- by-40 foot tents on the open land west of already established medical suites.

Cancer center may
be done in year’s time

Lisa told the gathered crowd that the ground breaking “is the second step” in a multi-year,  multi-million dollar project to bring state of the art, comprehensive cancer treatment and a stand-alone outpatient diagnostic imaging to the city of Manteca and the surrounding cities of Ripon, Lathrop, and Escalon and the rest of the South San Joaquin County.  

The completion of construction and the actual ribbon cutting to mark the opening of the facility should be about a year from now, he said.  A medical staff of 30 plus a physicist and two therapists will man the facility that will include a linear accelerator.

 “As care givers, we strive to provide you the best and most comprehensive health care right here,” Lisa said. “It pains us to hear people think they have to drive to UC Davis or UCSF and other places out of Manteca and out of the valley because the perception is that there is more or better health care other places.  What we are doing here today is helping to put another nail in that myth.  As citizens and consumers of health care, you demand and deserve the very best health care right here at home.”

The hospital CEO said the ground breaking for the imaging is significant in that 115 years ago the first X-ray machine was developed and tested by German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen – November 8, 1895.  It was Roentgen who produced and detected the first electro-magnetic radiation tested on his wife’s hand.    

Lisa said he wanted to thank everyone sitting in the audience, because everyone had a hand in moving the project forward.

“In one year, in that building, we are going to have a 1.2 test luck magnet for open MRIs – it will be the highest powered open magnet in this part of the valley,” Lisa said. “We are also going to have positron emission tomography and computer tomography – a high end diagnostic tool. 

Rounding out the suite of services is going to be x-ray and ultrasound.”

Positive emission tomography (PET) is a nuclear medicine imaging that produces a three dimensional image of a suspected area of the human body.

Dr. Terry Croasdale, of the Manteca medical community and a former flight officer, spoke on behalf of the medical staff at Doctors congratulating the principals in the planning of the new facility.  

The Manteca physician lauded the “advancement of the oncology services for Manteca”  that is promised with the completion of the new cancer and diagnostic centers.

“The dedicated oncology structure and the diagnostic radiologic services will be a meaningful support to oncology care to our patients and we wish to thank those individuals and organizations which have supported this project,” he said.

 “Doctors Hospital has taken the heritage of extremely good health care in Manteca and expanded it into the future,” Mayor Weatherford said. 

“We’re proud to assist you with your permitting and what it takes to get things done. We look forward to working with (parent corporation) Tenet and maybe placing a new hospital – because it’s the right thing and because it’s good for Manteca and it will also be good for business.  I know this is going to be a tremendous asset to our community.”

Cardoza: Project boon
to Manteca & region

Congressman Dennis Cardoza, of the 18th Congressional District, heralded the project as a boon to Manteca and to the region saying it will bring “world class folks” to the community in addition to the ones who are already here.  He added that it is exciting to see it being built by his friends who are making it all happen.

In welcoming Congressman Cardoza, Dr. Dhaliwal made mention of the congressmen receiving  a “championship” award recently for health care by the California Hospital Association,  demonstrating his passion for health care.

 The congressman said, “With the new health care bill, we are going to have to provide a whole lot more training because there will be more access and more opportunity to access care in the valley.  I am excited that this facility is being built and I think it is going to be a wonderful addition to the community,” Cardoza added .

Dr. Dhaliwal added, “I think it’s a great day for the people of Manteca.”

He said that after the grading is completed with the use of bulldozers in the next two to three weeks, construction will begin later in November with some 50 construction workers expected to be working on the cancer center.