The Gift of Growth

The Gift of Growth

Philanthropy is at the heart of Scripps Cancer Center expansion

No one ever wants to hear the word: cancer. But if you or a loved one faces cancer, Scripps Cancer Center has an integrated team of cancer specialists who work together to develop a treatment plan for your unique needs. It’s some of the world’s most advanced cancer care, and it’s right here in San Diego.

Thanks to generous philanthropic gifts, Scripps Cancer Center is expanding, opening new facilities, implementing some of the most advanced technology, launching new programs and services, hiring highly skilled specialists and compassionate nurse navigators, providing access to leading-edge clinical trials and creating new pathways for cancer survivorship. All because of generous donors dedicated to our lifesaving mission.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in the volume of patients who have come in to receive radiation therapy and chemotherapy, and we think this partly reflects their ability to be seen by an interdisciplinary team of specialists in a single visit, thanks to the care coordination of a compassionate nurse navigator,” says Thomas Buchholz, MD, medical director, Scripps Cancer Center, and radiation oncologist, Scripps Clinic.

Now, thanks to the generosity of philanthropy, we are also able to experience geographic growth, which allows us to provide services to people close to their home. From our locations in the north, including a new clinic at Scripps Medical Center, Jefferson, in Oceanside, to the opening of the innovative Prebys Cancer Center on the campus of Scripps Mercy Hospital, serving central and southern San Diego, we are bringing some of the most advanced cancer care to our patients throughout Southern California.”

Prebys Cancer Center

The $59 million state-of-the-art cancer center was made possible by late philanthropist Conrad Prebys, a longtime Scripps supporter, who in 2016 pledged a $20 million gift to name the center and a $5 million gift for an endowed medical director position at Scripps Cancer Center. Prebys Cancer Center officially opened its doors in early September 2021, giving patients in central and south San Diego access to Scripps' leading-edge cancer treatments and support services closer to home. Innovative treatments offered in the comprehensive outpatient facility include a chemotherapy/immune therapy infusion suite and radiation therapy with TrueBeam linear accelerators.

Marin Xavier, MD, a medical oncologist with Scripps Cancer Center and Scripps Clinic, and chief of hematology and oncology, Scripps Mercy Hospital, San Diego and Chula Vista campuses, knew Mr. Prebys before his passing in 2016. She explains that the philanthropist’s major gift furthers the Scripps mission and Mr. Prebys’ legacy to provide exceptional cancer care to as many San Diegans as possible.

“This is all possible because of his generosity,” she says.

“San Diego has always been a mecca for cancer care,” Dr. Xavier continues, “and Scripps has always had an excellent reputation for cancer research and treatment. But what we have not had yet is a comprehensive presence in the central and southern regions of San Diego. That’s what the Prebys Cancer Center brings into the picture. We have a huge cancer patient population in south, central and east San Diego, as well as in Imperial County and northern Baja California, Mexico, but there was really an unmet need in terms of cancer care for these patients. We recognize that when someone needs radiation therapy, going from Chula Vista, for example, to La Jolla is neither convenient nor patient centered. Having a state-of-the-art facility that’s within 10 miles of their home, instead of 30 miles, is important. We haven’t had that before, and now, with the addition of the Prebys Cancer Center to the Scripps Mercy Hospital campus, we will. We will be doubling our capacity and our ability to treat a wide net of patient populations, which is our goal in the community. Philanthropy has paved the way to diversify our offerings and address health disparities, especially geographic access.”

“Philanthropy has paved the way to diversify our offerings and address health disparities, especially geographic access.”— Marin Xavier, MD, Scripps Cancer Center and Scripps Clinic

Woltman Family College Building

Along with the Prebys Cancer Center is another addition to the Scripps Mercy Hospital campus: The newly renovated Woltman Family College Building. Made possible by generous gifts from the Woltman family, the building will house a wide variety of patient support services that are critical during the patient journey, from cancer diagnosis through treatment, recovery and well into survivorship.

“Philanthropic support has also allowed us to grow our patient support services, which truly complement the clinical environment,” Dr. Buchholz explains. “Patients need multiple services during cancer care, from genetic counselors and lymphedema specialists to social workers, support groups, clinical dietitians and others. We are working to develop wellness and ongoing care pathways and protocols to get people back into wellness and ensure they are monitored closely after their cancer treatment.”

Philanthropy helped Scripps Health continue to expand via the Woltman Family College Building.

Woltman Family College Building

Karen Jensen, assistant vice president, Scripps Cancer Center, adds that the multitude of programs and services in the Woltman Family College Building allow for an expanded, more holistic approach to caring for our patients and their family members. All exemplify the depth and breadth of the Scripps Cancer Center's multidisciplinary approach to cancer care.

“Some of the services that will be in the new building will include a cancer welcome center, a resource library, a wig bank and prosthetic center, pastoral counseling and an oratory room, a conference room to accommodate patient and family support groups, mindfulness and meditation, nutritional classes and yoga classes. These will be wonderful additions to complement the direct patient care offered at Prebys Cancer Center,” Jensen says. “This has given us the traction to utilize those philanthropic gifts in a most meaningful way that truly supports our patient environment. What this does is recognize that the cancer journey is so much more than clinical diagnosis and treatment. It’s also working together with specialists of different skill sets to supplement physicians with complementary services that take care of patients’ financial, emotional, spiritual, and practical needs, so they can focus on getting better.”

Comprehensive Cancer Care in Your Community

While the Prebys Cancer Center and the Woltman Family College Building represent pinnacles of philanthropic growth, Scripps Cancer Center is also expanding services in its other locations and continuing to serve patients in all corners of the San Diego community with the multidisciplinary care they have come to expect from Scripps.

Scripps Cancer Center, John J. Hopkins

The Scripps Cancer Center, John J. Hopkins Drive location on the Torrey Pines Mesa was built in 2012, with future expansion in mind. Thanks to donor investments, including a $5 million gift from Fred and Lynda Allen to name a new multidisciplinary clinic, an additional 16,500 square feet of space was added to enhance treatments and services for cancer patients. The new north hub offers high-tech connectivity and provides patients with access to professionals from every area of oncological medicine, including medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, oncology nurses, genetic counselors, palliative care providers, social workers, nurse navigators and more, all in one collaborative, team-based environment.

Scripps Cancer Center, Santa Fe Drive

Scripps Cancer Center has offices in a new medical office pavilion on the campus of Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas that offers patients chemotherapy and infusion services, and a dedicated multidisciplinary clinic space that continues to advance health care in the North County coastal region.

Scripps Cancer Center, Jefferson

Located in Oceanside at Scripps Medical Center, Scripps Cancer Center, Jefferson, provides specialized care for people living with cancer, including screening and prevention, diagnostic services, and treatments such as surgery, individualized chemotherapy and infusion services and more.

To learn more about how you can support Scripps Cancer Center, visit

This content appeared in San Diego Health, a publication in partnership between Scripps and San Diego Magazine that celebrates the healthy spirit of San Diego.