Easton Hospital Upgrades Radiation Therapy Technology

Easton, PA – July 27, 2016 – Easton Hospital cut a ribbon today, celebrating the opening of the new linear accelerator (LINAC) to treat cancer patients. The technology customizes high energy radiation (x-rays) to conform to a tumor’s shape and destroy cancer cells while sparing surrounding normal tissue.

In radiation therapy, a LINAC is used typically as a curative treatment, either alone or in conjunction with surgery and/or chemotherapy. The new equipment allows for several advanced treatment approaches, including:

  • Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT): radiation therapy that manipulates photon and proton beams to conform to the shape of a tumor.
  • Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT): radiation therapy that incorporates imaging techniques during treatment sessions. The detailed images ensure the radiation is narrowly focused at the treatment area.
  • Volumetric Arc Therapy (VMAT): a technique that delivers a 3D dose of radiation with a 360-degree rotation of the therapy equipment.
  • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT): a high potency dose of radiation delivered to a tumor using a specially designed coordinate system.

“Today we begin a more advanced approach to the care, treatment and safety of cancer patients,” says Karen Vadyak, Chief Nursing Officer and Assistant CEO. “The new LINAC reduces treatment time and targets tumors with greater accuracy. We are pleased to offer this technology to patients who face the challenges of a cancer journey.”

Construction to accommodate the new equipment began in January 2016 and involved additional lead shielding to the walls and roof.

“Custom lead bricks were cut and layered into the existing walls to provide extra shielding required for this technology,” says Christine Biege, Assistant CEO, who oversaw construction. “We also created a new precise base frame to hold the equipment which weighs several tons.”

“It was an amazing process to watch and exciting time in radiation therapy,” says Rhonda Fry, Manager of Radiation Oncology. “Assembling the LINAC components, the next phase of the project, required two months as installers worked seven days a week to put each component together. The last six weeks involved testing the beam and training the staff.”

Easton Hospital radiation therapy team is made up of radiation oncologists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists, radiation physicists, nurses and staff. They work closely with the medical oncology and surgical oncology teams as well as the patient navigator, dietitian, social worker and clinical trial teams that can be involved in a patient’s cancer journey.

“For patients who seek comprehensive oncology care, the team at Easton Hospital is passionate about the care they deliver and committed to patient safety and quality,” says CEO John Zidansek. “The new LINAC complements our affiliation with Philadelphia-based Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Network at Thomas Jefferson University and existing TomoTherapy Linear Accelerator and High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy system. The use of these sophisticated technologies assures that all types of cancers can be treated here at Easton Hospital and that patients in our community can be treated close to home, allowing our patients to focus on what matters most: their recovery.”

About Easton Hospital
Easton Hospital is a 254-bed acute care teaching hospital serving more than 300,000 residents in Northampton County and the five surrounding counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Founded in 1890, the hospital celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2015. Easton Hospital offers an active Emergency Department which sees more than 32,000 annual visits; a cardiac care program recognized as an accredited Chest Pain Center and one of 55 designated Heart Attack Receiving Centers in the country; a Center for Orthopedics, Joint and Spine which is accredited by the Joint Commission for both total-hip and total-knee replacement; a certified Primary Stroke Center; a Surgical Weight Loss program designated as an accredited center in Bariatric Surgery; and the Easton Regional Cancer Center which is a member of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Network at Jefferson. In addition, the hospital maintains two free-standing, fully-accredited residency training programs in surgery and internal medicine. For more information and a complete list of services offered at Easton Hospital, visit the hospital’s website: WWW.EASTON-HOSPITAL.COM.

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