TEMPLE UNIVERSITY Health System and the Fox Chase Cancer Center made their impending marriage official yesterday.

The two institutions signed an agreement that would make the cancer center part of Temple's health system in a cooperative relationship expected to help both organizations, which have had recent financial difficulties.

Fox Chase will expand its outpatient and surgical-care services in its own Northeast Philadelphia facility and in leased space at the adjacent Jeanes Hospital, a Temple affiliate since 1996.

The affiliation is expected to be complete by next summer, pending approval by several regulatory agencies.

The cancer center, at Shelmire Street and Central Avenue, has made several attempts to expand, fighting court challenges to block it from expanding into adjacent Burholme Park.

Temple's bone-marrow-transplant program is already at Jeanes. Temple said the affiliation with Fox Chase would create "a contiguous 47.5-acre site to serve as Temple's 'cancer hub.' "

"We believe this affiliation . . . will [enable] us to begin recruiting new researchers and clinicians almost immediately and to expand our clinical services in coming years to serve the region's cancer-care needs well into the future," said Michael Seiden, Fox Chase's president and chief executive officer.

Jean Gavin, treasurer of the group Save Burholme Park, said she's glad the organizations are expanding the way the group has always wanted them to.

She hopes both institutions will "make use of the park as part of the health process," by using nature as a place to find peace and relaxation.