LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansans now have more options when it comes to cancer-related surgeries and treatment.
On Friday morning, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Congressman French Hill and other state and local leaders cut the ribbon to celebrate CARTI's new 57,000-square-foot cancer surgery center in Little Rock.
It's Arkansas's first cancer-focused surgery and treatment center, serving those in and out of state.
"It's really an exciting moment for us," CARTI President and CEO Adam Head said. "Not even just patients in Arkansas, but being able to have a destination type site."
Anyone who needs treatment is encouraged to visit the center.
"We're just excited for patients and families who will be positively impacted through this," Head said.
Head said the cancer surgery and treatment center is filling an enormous need.
"It's estimated in Arkansas, this year in 2023, that there's going to be roughly 18,600 newly diagnosed patients with a cancer diagnosis," Head said.
Sanders was personally impacted by cancer, one reason she supports the facility.
"Last year, I too was diagnosed with thyroid cancer," Sanders said. "Because of the amazing work of the people at CARTI, I get to stand up here today completely cancer-free."
Sanders said the new facility would greatly help those still battling cancer.
"I'm honored that I get to be here today and celebrate what this will mean for the state of Arkansas," Sanders said. "A 57,000 square-foot facility with 80 new employees... will literally change lives. That will have an impact long after most of us are gone."
CARTI Breast Surgical Oncologist Dr. Yara Robertson is a four-year kidney cancer survivor and knows how overwhelming it can be to get the necessary care.
"They can face multiple steps, multiple visits and often must go to multiple locations for these procedures to be done," Robertsons said. "It is a draining process for a patient. Now with the CARTI Surgery Center, we hope to ease that burden."
It will also give cancer patients more access closer to home.
"I'm incredibly hopeful about what this new facility means for our patients and their families," Robertson added.
The CARTI Surgery Center includes eight private overnight rooms, 12 recovery rooms, 14 pre and post-op rooms and six large operating rooms.