EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)- The Texas Legislature is set to spend about $65 million to help construct a cancer center in El Paso. The money will finance a collaborative effort between the Texas Tech University Health Science Center El Paso and University Medical Center of El Paso.

“Cancer patients often have to travel to Houston or other cities to get advanced medical care. The travel is expensive, grueling and complicates treatment,” said State Rep. Mary E. González, Ph.D., D-San Elizario, and vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee. “My heart breaks when I see members of our community boarding planes and leaving their families so they can get the healthcare they need.”

Community leaders started addressing the problem two years ago, but due to many setbacks they started to give up hope. It was until a year later that González and the El Paso legislative delegation began planning an effort to secure state money, she said in a news release.

As a member of the Appropriations Committee, González started working budget researchers and community leaders at UMC and Texas Tech University Health Science Center El Paso to create a pathway.

“I’m so happy our effort has paid off. The creation of the cancer center will be transformative for
healthcare and education. Soon, cancer patients will remain at home and receive state-of-the-art care,” González said. “The El Paso legislative delegation pulled together with other community leaders to make this happen. It is truly a major advancement for our community.”