Union cancer treatment center to open in Nov.
cmattix@ cecilwhig. com
— In a little more than two months, Cecil County cancer patients will be able to get oncology radiology plans and treatments using the latest technology without traveling out of the county.
“We are so excited to be able to offer this treatment here,” Union Hospital President and CEO Richard Szumel said Tuesday.
Szumel and Ann Lara, senior vice president and chief innovation officer, an-
swered questions Tuesday afternoon about the facility and the hospital’s growth.
The University of Maryland Radiology Oncology Center at Union Hospital of Cecil County, an approximately $ 9 million project, is expected to open Nov. 1 at 152 Railroad Ave. The building was previously occupied by the former Adult Day Care Center, which has been relocated to a newly renovated space in the former Walgreen’s building at Redner’s Shopping Center on Route 213, south of town.
Work began on the cancer center earlier this year with contractors first building the 3- foot thick walled concrete and lead vault required to house a new state- of- the- art linear accelerator at the west end of the existing building.
The linear accelerator is the unit that houses the radiation that is delivered to the patient’s cancer sites via a process known as external beam radiation therapy.
“The equipment, along with the treatment planning we do, will deliver treatment with almost pinpoint accuracy,” Lara said.
Union Hospital, in partnership with the University of Maryland, will have about eight staff members who will be assigned to the cancer center exclusively.
Dr. Heather Curry, an oncologist, will be the medical director of the facility. She will start seeing new patients on Monday in temporary offices.
The facility will also have a new CAT scan simulator to take shots of the patient from all angles to determine a customized treatment. Dosimetrists are other new cancer center staff members who will be designing treatment plans using the images and other information. A team of physicists will be on hand to constantly monitor and regulate the equipment. Radiation therapists will actually give the treatments that have already been prescribed.
A nurse and office staff will also be assigned to the cancer center.
“Even though the staff will be employed by the University of Maryland, they will be an integral part of Union Hospital,” Lara said. “It’s been a true collaboration.”
Prior to this, most Cecil County cancer patients had to go to Bel Air or Christiana, Del., for treatment, Szumel said, but now they can be treated in Elkton.
Meanwhile, hospital offi- cials are still planning to break ground on a $ 4.5 million Crisis Assessment and Stabilization Center to be built on a 3.5 acre parcel of land that sits between the Amtrak rail lines and Railroad Avenue in Elkton, behind the Napa auto parts store, by the end of this year.
“The project got delayed a bit because we are considering making it two floors instead one a single- floor building,” Szumel said.
The facility will focus on emergency treatment for individuals suffering from either a mental crisis or a substance abuse crisis. It is expected to have 16 beds for patients needing to detox or stabilize on a short- term basis, as they await additional treatment for long term recovery.
It is expected to open by early 2018.
University of Maryland Radiology Oncology at Union Hospital of Cecil County will open on Railroad Avenue in November.
Dr. Richard Szumel, CEO of Union Hospital, is excited to welcome a new era of change at the institution, opening a cancer treatment center and crisis center.