The new, $65 million state-of-the-art cancer center, built by UNC REX Healthcare, will replace the current cancer center that was built in 1987.
It's slated to open in 2021 on Blue Ridge Road, directly across the street from the hospital campus, in what is currently a parking lot.
UNC Rex treated about 3,800 cancer patients in 2018, a 25 percent increase in new cancer patients since 2015.
Sharon Delaney-McCloud, a breast cancer survivor who has been treated at Rex for the last three years, served on the Patient and Family Advisory Council for the project.
"I had an incredible experience as a patient here at UNC Rex," said Delaney-McCloud. "But the building is...they've out grown it, it's too small."
Delaney-McCloud said Rex took the advisory council's thoughts and put them into action in the design.
The 145,000 square foot, 4-story building will provide an array of services including medical, radiation and surgical oncology.
A new Quality of Life Clinic will provide patients with things like behavioral health care and massage therapy.
Former NC State University football stars and NFL retirees Terrence and Torry Holt were also on hand for Thursday's groundbreaking.
The brothers started a foundation in honor of their mother who died of lymphoma when they were young.
The UNC Rex cancer center will house the Holt brothers' KidsCan!, an emotional support group for kids with a parent fighting cancer.
"What we want the kids to know more than anything, that there's hope," said Terrence Holt.