OU, Norman Regional to bring 'highest level' of cancer care to Norman

Jan. 4—A state-of-the-art cancer center is coming to Norman in 2025, officials announced Wednesday.

OU Health, which operates the Stephenson Cancer Center in Oklahoma City, is partnering with Norman Regional to build a new cancer care facility on the grounds of the Norman Regional HealthPlex near Interstate 35 and Tecumseh Road.

The 50,000-square-foot OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center at Norman Regional will combine a full spectrum of medical oncology and radiation oncology services under one roof on the newly modernized Norman Regional HealthPlex campus.

"This is the culmination of many discussions and a tremendous amount of work," said Dr. Richard Lofgren, president and CEO of OU Health. "Soon we will break ground at a new facility called OU Health Stevenson at Norman Regional."

Lofgren and other leaders, including OU President Joseph Harroz Jr., made their remarks on the future site of the cancer center.

Harroz said having a state-of-the-art facility will save lives, because oncological health depends on a patient's accessibility to treatment

"Being near our community is absolutely essential," he said. "It saves lives in a fundamental way and provides for a quality of life that, otherwise, wouldn't exist."

Richie Splitt, president and CEO of Norman Regional Health System, said the Stevenson Cancer Center has received the designation of National Cancer Institute, which is the highest designation that a cancer center can achieve.

"OU Health's Stevenson Cancer Center at Norman Regional will be a national cancer institute designated cancer center, making this location only the second in the state where patients can receive care under that prestigious designation," Splitt said.

Dr. Robert Mannel, director of OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center, said the center currently treats one out of six cancer patients in Oklahoma, but with future expansion, that number will increase to about one out of every five cancer patients.

Because the Stephenson Center is a part of the University of Oklahoma, these patients will also receive access to clinical trials that many cancer centers can't offer, Mannel said.

"Patients in Norman will have ready-access to Stevenson Cancer Center's extensive network of clinical trials," he said. "At the current time, one in five patients at the Stevenson Cancer Center are treated on a clinical trial.

"This gives them the opportunity to receive promising new treatments and improves the standard of care for all patients. What I like to say is that we are offering tomorrow's therapies today."

Dr. Kristin Thorp, a Norman Regional oncologist, said she looks forward to the time when the project is complete. She joined the Porter Medical Oncology Clinic clinic because of its reputation.

"We work very hard to provide personalized up-to-date care to get to know our patients as individuals and work towards their goals," Thorp said.