Regional One oncology department inpatient unit celebrates one year anniversary

Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 10:59 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Regional One, the Mid-South’s only level one trauma center, is known for treating the most severe injuries from burns to gunshot wounds and more.

The hospital is also working to save the lives of people diagnosed with cancer.

Regional One’s oncology department’s inpatient unit opened one year ago Thursday.

“Historically, we’ve always thought of Regional One as the place that had excellence in terms of trauma care, but things have changed over the last couple of years,” said the Executive Director of Regional One’s cancer program, Dr. David Shibata. “Particularly, one of the biggest initiatives we’ve started is a cancer center.”

Dr. David Shibata, the head of Regional One’s cancer program, has been with the hospital for more than a couple years.

His reason for coming to Memphis?

“I’m a cancer surgeon and my passion is treating cancer patients and sadly, our region in the Mississippi Delta area has the worst cancer out comes in the nation,” he said. “If there was a place to try to come and work with others and make a difference, this was the place.”

The American Cancer Society estimates in 2023, almost 14,600 people in Tennessee, more than 6,300 people in Arkansas and almost 6,700 people in Mississippi will die from some form of cancer this year.

Dr. Shibata says the cancer program started two years ago through a partnership with the University of Tennessee and Regional One Health, the inpatient center housing patients was the last missing piece.

“We’ve had a lot of success,” said Dr. Shibata. “We’ve created a cutting edge, state of the art operating room including robotic technology for our cancer patients. We also have a fully renovated new outpatient clinic facility for our cancer patients, with those three things together, I think we’ve really manage to make a difference here,” he said.

The American Cancer Society estimates 80,000 new cases of some form of cancer in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee this year alone. Half of the estimated new cases are or will be in the Volunteer state.

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