Cancer Clinical Trials Close to Home at Lee Memorial Health System

A primary goal of cancer clinical trials at SCOR member site Lee Health Cancer Center is to make sure patients have access to as many treatment options as possible while keeping them close to home.  Lee Health research nurse Alina Ward oversees the cancer clinical trials Lee Health. “Research is done for just about anything. There are studies for all kinds of different diagnosis, different studies. There are studies that are not even treatment-related. There are some studies that are just looking at the quality of life.”  Find clinical trials near you HERE.

South Florida Surgical Oncology, A 21st Century Oncology Practice, Performs Its First Robotic-Assisted Operation

FORT MYERS, Fla.July 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — South Florida Surgical Oncology, a division of 21st Century Oncology, the largest integrated cancer care network in America, has recently completed its first advanced robotic gastrointestinal operation at Lee Memorial Hospital. A minimally invasive procedure, robotic surgery potentially shortens hospital stays, minimizes pain and helps patients recover faster.  

“Robotic technology provides great precision, allowing us to perform very fine movements and dissection,” said Dr. Bassan Allan, a surgical oncologist at South Florida Surgical Oncology. “We can do so much more using robotic technology as compared to conventional laparoscopy.”

Though robotic surgery has been in use for some time, few facilities offer it for advanced gastrointestinal cancer surgeries. South Florida Surgical Oncology is also among only a handful of practices using this groundbreaking technology for high-volume pancreatic surgery.

When performing robotic-assisted surgery, the surgeon sits in a console next to the patient and controls the machine’s robotic arms. Images are projected in 3D high resolution.

Dr. Allan and his partner, Dr. Mark Bloomston, trained extensively in the usage of robotic technology. They can use the robotic-assisted technology for both benign and malignant diseases. Patients in the Southwest Florida community are excited to learn that South Florida Surgical Oncology now offers robotic-assisted surgery. What’s more, patients from other areas in Florida are also coming to Drs. Allan and Bloomston for treatment in this technique.

“Some patients are seeking it out, searching online for surgeons who perform robotic surgery,” Dr. Allan said. “It’s a great tool to have at our disposal.”

To learn more about Dr. Allan and Dr. Bloomston and the procedures they perform, visit their website at

About 21st Century Oncology
21st Century Oncology is the nation’s largest integrated cancer care network. Operating as one dream team in the crusade against cancer, the company carries out its mission with the mindset of “fighting for patients like an army and caring for them like a family.” 21st Century Oncology employs or is affiliated with 1,000 physicians globally to deliver the most advanced, integrated and compassionate cancer care in personal and convenient settings. Headquartered in Fort Myers, FL, 21st Century Oncology operates 164 treatment centers, including 127 centers located in 15 U.S. states. In addition, the company operates 37 centers located in seven countries in Latin America. For more information, please visit

Cancer Clinical Trials at Lee Health, Fort Myers, FL

At SCOR member site Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL, “We’re trying to move to the next level where we get more specific with the treatments, and we can target in on the gene mutation that’s causing cancer,” said Dr. Lowell Hart, an oncologist on the medical staff there. Depending on the type of cancer, patients may qualify for a clinical trial. “We try to offer clinical trials whenever they are available because obviously, none of the progress that we’ve made in cancer in the last 20-30 years would be possible without patients going on to trials,” said Dr. Hart. A clinical trial gives patients access to new drugs that aren’t FDA approved. Currently, there are many ongoing clinical trials for breast, lung, and colorectal cancers.

With early detection, prevention, and more effective treatments, doctors say the cancer survival rate is improving. “We are not quite to the point we want to be at yet, but I’m hopeful that sometime in the next 10 years or so we may get to the point where we can turn cancer into of a chronic illness that even if you can’t be completely cured, you can just keep living with it,” said Dr. Hart. With a goal to prolong life, clinical trials can help doctors give patients the best treatment possible to help them overcome cancer.

Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.