July 18, 2019

Up Front - The Publisher's Column

The business of cancer therapy

Andrew P. Corty | 4/28/2015

Unfortunately, cancer has touched us all. Sometimes it strikes family members, friends or colleagues -- and once in a while ourselves. There’s simply no escaping it.

Doctors diagnose about 114,000 cases of various cancers each year in Florida, so cancer has become a big business, both in medical care and in research. Academic institutions have teams of scientists trying to stem the tide; they seems to be making headway, albeit incrementally. The National Institutes of Health puts serious money behind the effort to combat cancer, and many generous benefactors provide important support.

In the May 2015 issue of Florida Trend, we look at the business of cancer therapy. There is a focus on 21st Century Oncology, a radiation therapy provider that has spread from its original base in Fort Myers. Today, the company has more than $1.0 billion in revenue from 390 locations in 17 states and six Latin American countries.

21st Century isn’t the only major player. Florida Cancer Specialists counts 170 physicians and 110 nurse practitioners at dozens of offices around the state. In addition to diagnosis and surgical care, FCS provides chemotherapy, infusions and radiation treatments. Like most cancer care providers, FCS mixes modern care with compassion.

Our major hospitals are keeping pace. While Moffitt is the only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center based in Florida, there are other heavy hitters. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville has a cancer specialty (and its own NIH designation, albeit from Minnesota), and the Cleveland Clinic has just opened a cancer center in Weston. UF Health (Shands) has its own cancer center in Gainesville. Baptist is building a cancer institute in Miami. And others like Memorial Health, Orlando Health and Johns Hopkins/All Children’s offer specialized care.

You can access the cancer coverage by clicking here (on page 40 of the issue).

Cuba is an ever fascinating puzzle. I traveled to that island about seven years ago on a “mission” trip that was more tourism than mission.

What do I recall aside from the poverty? First was the lack of ambition; we forget that our entrepreneurial system pushes ordinary folks toward innovation and hard work. Second, many of the people we talked with were just plain scared -- afraid to step out of line for fear of repercussions.

Florida Trend associate editor Jason Garcia traveled to Cuba to report on the challenges and opportunities that are coming as the U.S. eases toward better relations with that country.

If the United States opens access to Cuba, then Florida stands to gain economically and culturally. But we need to ensure that the Cuban people really have freedoms so they can innovate and work for their own gain. The excellent package of articles about the Cuba conundrum can be found here (page 58 of the May issue).

International trade is all about competition, providing the lowest price, best quality, quickest turnaround or other inducements. The same can be said of Florida’s ports. As noted in the International section (page 38), much of the merchandise arriving in the state comes through Savannah or other ports outside of Florida, such as California. That’s why the Florida Ports Council is pushing for more investments not just in the ports but in roads, tracks and distribution centers.

Fitness update: After a good gym workout and downtown run, I watched friends like Dr. Mike Reilly, attorney Jeff Winkler and financial executive Mike Carroll play strenuous tennis doubles. These champs prove that there is life after age 40 (or 50 or 60 or whatever the case may be).

— Andy Corty

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