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.

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