WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wesley Medical Center is working to improve cancer care in Wichita and surrounding Kansas communities.

On Thursday, Wesley announced it partnered with the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute to expand cancer treatment services.

Zahra Raki, regional vice president for cancer services for Sarah Cannon, has been working to provide national resources to Wesley. She explained what the institute offers.

“It is going to be more access, access to research trials in a bigger way than currently exists, more investment for the oncology service line and care of the patients. This being a network, a national network, will help that patient’s cases be discussed at the national level with the national experts,” Raki said.

Part of the project includes a $10.9 million oncology unit project that will take 12 to 14 months to complete. It will help improve facilities, patient rooms, nursing stations and a family room. The new space will allow patients to be cared for in one 33-bed unit.

Raki, whose background is in intensive care nursing, says cancer is a confusing time for patients.

“Patients when they hear that word cancer, their life goes upside down, and we provide nurses, oncology-certified nurses, to hold the hand of those patients from that moment on all the way to their survivorship,” she said.

Through the partnership with Sarah Cannon, Wesley is offering resources to the community through its askSARAH helpline, which provides callers with access to trained nurses who can answer cancer-related questions 24/7. The number is 316-776-6470.