Central Montana Medical Center begins $15.6 million cancer center project

By: - September 13, 2023 2:53 pm

An artist’s rendering of the Helmsley Cancer Center, part of Central Montana Medical Center in Lewistown, Montana (Artist drawing courtesy of CMMC | Cushing Terrell Architects).

LEWISTOWN — The mission is simple: Cancer care closer to home.

And on Wednesday, Central Montana Medical Center broke ground on a $15.6 million cancer center that will bring comprehensive cancer care services to central Montana. That means residents living in central and northern Montana won’t have to travel as long for cancer treatment.

The project is made possible by $9 million in grant funding from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the support of the community.

Once complete, the 17,830 square-foot cancer center will offer medical and radiation oncology services to nine rural counties in central Montana, filling a huge coverage gap by providing high-quality cancer care closer to home for nearly 50,000 residents. The CMMC cancer center will help relieve the stress and burden of patients and families who currently travel up to 220 miles, sometimes five days a week, to Great Falls or Billings for diagnoses, radiation treatments and other services.

“The Helmsley Charitable Trust has a made a distinct commitment to strengthen health care in rural communities, and today’s groundbreaking marks a significant milestone that will change the face of cancer care in central Montana,” said Walter Panzirer, a Helmsley Trustee. “Soon, patients and their families facing a cancer diagnosis will be able to receive great care close to home, where family and friends can provide much needed support. We are excited to join Central Montana Medical Center and the community in making this cancer center a reality.”

Central Montana Medical Center plans to add a full-time oncologist in partnership with Billings Clinic Cancer Center, a part-time radiation oncologist and a linear accelerator machine. The new center will be built on the Central Montana Medical Center campus and connect to the hospital and all its services. The center will introduce the region’s only medical linear accelerator, which delivers radiation treatments quickly and accurately.

“I’m excited the day has come to officially begin construction on the cancer center. This project would not be possible without the lead gift from the Helmsley Charitable Trust and the amazing response from our community to the ongoing capital campaign.  We will be working through the details of the construction schedule, but anticipate project completion in late 2024 or early 2025,” said Cody Langbehn, Central Montana Medical Center’s chief executive officer.

An additional $2.4 million in alternates are being considered as construction and fundraising proceeds. CMMC is dedicated to raising $4 million through fundraising efforts and securing debt financing for the rest. Currently, more than $12.2 million has been raised including the lead gift from the Helmsley Charitable Trust in 2021.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.