Today’s news:

New cancer center opens

The center, formerly located near Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows, relocated six months ago to its new digs at the corner of Union Turnpike and Utopia Parkway in Hillcrest, where it occupies most of the third floor of the building. The room where chemotherapy treatments are administered is spacious, open, bright and sunny, with 27 patient chairs equipped with personal televisions near skylights and three hospital beds placed near the windows."People are here for so many hours [receiving treatment] we wanted to make it as pleasant as possible," said James Chau, the IT and marketing coordinator at the facility.Dr. Lihong Wei agreed. "We want chemotherapy to be a wonderful experience. People think oncology is depressing, but no, my office is a comedy routine," she said as she showed photos from a recent costume party. "I try to make patients feel better physically or mentally."The center also has satellite offices in Rego Park, Flushing and Jackson Heights, and among the four locations there are translation services available in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Italian and Greek, Chau said. The five oncologists on staff are affiliated with New York Hospital Center of Queens and Forest Hills Hospital, and Chau said they are also working on a deal with North Shore.The six-year-old practice had outgrown its original address, where there was only space for eight treatment chairs and two beds. "We have 52 people on staff, up from 37," said Chau. "We see 1,000 patients a month and 162 new patients, on average" in that time.The center is a one-stop shop for cancer and blood disease treatment, with an on-site laboratory and pharmacy, genetic counseling services, clinical trials on new drugs, support groups and visiting nurses. "The doctors try to offer patients as many services as possible. It's state of the art and the largest in Queens," Chau said.The Queens Medical Associates Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders accepts all major insurance and Medicaid and Medicare, Chau said.Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

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