In honor of the 40th anniversary of Virginia Cancer Specialists, Dr. Arthur Kales, one of the original founders and current Practice President, recently sat down to discuss the beginnings of the practice. According to Dr. Kales, it was definitely a humble start.  He and fellow founder, hematologist/oncologist Dr. Binder, decided to leave their positions in academics and take the risk of starting one of the first outpatient cancer treatment facilities in the region. This would allow them to focus on spending more time caring for their patients.

They started it all in a small, 1,500 square foot space under the name of Kales & Binder. As the practice grew to meet the needs of the region, the name was changed to Fairfax Northern Virginia Hematology Oncology and then finally to Virginia Cancer Specialists in 2010.

Today, Virginia Cancer Specialists is one of the largest private oncology practices in the Northern Virginia area serving patients at nine offices located in Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Leesburg, Woodbridge, Reston, Fair Oaks and Leesburg.

The group has also grown from two to 26 physicians and treats patients diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders with a full spectrum of cancer care services. These services have truly evolved over the years from when chemotherapy was in its infancy and the practice provided pediatric and adult cancer care. Today the focus is on adult treatments, providing the most advanced and patient-focused care possible. “The most important thing as far as our practice from day one has always been patient care,” said Dr. Kales.  “I think we made patient care better for the community by really, absolutely focusing on that.” 

Shockingly, back when they started it wasn’t expected that an outpatient oncology practice could work. Because of that, Dr. Kales didn’t expect his practice to grow the way that it did.  When asked if he predicted the rapid expansion over the past 40 years, Dr. Kales responded, “Absolutely no way.”  Despite a colleague’s predictions of the growth several years into practice, Dr. Kales has been sincerely surprised by the expansion of VCS.

When expansion happened, the practice sought top-notch doctors with the same philosophy on patient care. The physicians at VCS participate in things such as Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night, MMRF Race for Research, educational conferences, support groups, teaching etc.

Not only can VCS bring services such as stem cell transplant and genetic risk assessment to Northern Virginia, they also treat patients like family. And that is one of the many wonderful aspects of a community-based practice.

So what does Dr. Kales envision for the future of Virginia Cancer Specialists?  As time passes, he would like to see the growth and expansion continue in order to better serve the patients of Northern Virginia.  When asked what area he is most excited about, his response was “research development” and the fascinating trials of the VCS Research Institute. The cutting-edge clinical trials program through the practice continues to explore novel and targeted cancer therapies for patients.