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LIJ breaks new ground with hi-tech cancer unit

Dubbed The Monter Cancer Center after developer benefactor Gerald Monter of Manhasset, L.I., who donated $10 million for it, the facility will be the backbone of the health system's Center for Advanced Medicine at i.Park, which once housed buildings for the defense industry and the first headquarters of the United Nations.North Shore-LIJ President and CEO Michael Dowling said the outpatient cancer center will be "more patient-friendly" and have "expert quality and more amenities" than others of its kind in Manhattan."This will be the pre-eminent outpatient facility in the region," he said. "There is nothing like this."The 37,000-square-foot cancer center will feature an indoor garden, flat-screen televisions and large windows allowing plenty of natural light to enter to give cancer patients a feeling of hope. "You have something that is so sophisticated, so beautiful, that it will help you to overcome whatever disease that you may have," Monter said."This is a dream come true," said Dr. Vincent Vinciguerra, the chief of hematology and oncology at North Shore. "It's an opportunity to try and bring together the many programs we have... for our cancer patients."He said in most hospitals different treatments are located in different areas of the health system, which puts a strain on the already tired cancer patients. But with the Monter Center, those from Long Island and Queens who will be using the facility will only have to go to one building for outpatient treatment."Having this option near home is a wonderful thing," said Cindy Kubala, the director of the Center For Advanced Medicine.When the center opens to patients next month, it will care for those who normally go to North Shore University Hospital in New Hyde Park. Dowling said the facility will start to serve Long Island Jewish Hospital patients over the next year.Monter, 84, said his inspiration for his donation came from his late father, who died from cancer more than 50 years ago when treatment was sub-standard."After seeing the hospital and the conditions that existed Ð the darkness, the dreariness, the stench of death Ð made me want to do something when I was able to," he said. "We have to get cancer on its way to going out of existence."Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173

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