Cancer survival rates are on the rise, thanks to advancements in treatments as well as personalized cancer care that’s stepped out of the acute care environment and into community outpatient centers across the country.

And while great strides have been made to battle the disease, the American Cancer Society also reports that some types of cancer are on the rise, and this year alone about 1.7 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed.

With even greater patient population numbers expected thanks to aging baby boomers and healthcare reform, facilities are bracing for a new wave of treatments to be delivered and requiring their care environments to support a continuation—and growth—of successes seen so far.

So what exactly does that mean for the healthcare design industry? I talked to a dozen experts to find out.

Over the course of the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to interview cancer care consultants, facility owners, designers, and others. It’s been a fascinating road that’s lead to an in-depth trend report you can find here, and in the April 2013 print issue of Healthcare Design. We’re also planning a webinar, "A Preview of Healthcare Design’s Cancer Center Trends Report," during which a few of my sources will tackle these issues in even more detail. (For more information on the March 21 event, please go here.)

While both of those offerings will delve into specifics in far more detail than I’m able to in this blog, I do want to point out a few of the major design trends that came to light:

  1. Support for a multidisciplinary team environment—The days of physicians, surgeons, nutritionists, and radiologists working out of separate buildings on different campuses are long gone. Today’s cancer treatment regimens call for personalized care with teams working together on a regular basis, meaning facilities need to provide collaborative environments and flexible office space.
  2. Patient-centered design—Finding themselves in a health situation beyond their control, patients are looking to balance that by having more influence over their care environment. Project goals for modern facilities include providing patients with options, including public and private treatment spaces, indoor and outdoor respite areas, food and retail choices, and so on.
  3. Technology is here to stay—From radiology to proton therapy, cancer treatment relies heavily on technology. And while it’s a necessary part of care, patients don’t necessarily want to know it’s there. It’s critical for designers and builders to find solutions that place large pieces of equipment on a less intimidating scale, while also planning in flexibilities for what’s to come.

Please look for the full trend report, and take part in the webinar for the opportunity to listen in on a discussion of these topics and ask questions during my live Q&A with the pros. It’s certainly been an enlightening process for me so far.