PHOENIXVILLE — Area officials and hospital personnel turned out for a ceremonial ground-breaking of the expansion to Phoenixville Hospital’s cancer center.
The expansion will create a vault which will contain a brand-new piece of equipment that will greatly enhance Phoenixville Hospital’s ability to treat cancer patients.
“It’s a state-of-the-art linear accelerator,” said the hospital’s CEO, Steve Tullman. “You can’t get more advanced than that.”
According to Dr. Et-Tsu Chen, the medical director of Radiation and Oncology, the Varian TrueBeam Linear Accelerator will increase the accuracy and precision with which doctors will be able to target tumors in radiation therapy.
Although she said there might be “growing pains” with the new equipment, she expressed excitement for the future.
“I’m really proud to be at this point,” Chen said. “We have a great machine that is able to bring modern technology to treat patients.”
A group held six silver-bladed shovels and stood within the construction zone for the vault, taking pictures. Everyone present donned blue or white hard-hats when they entered.
Phoenixville Community Health Foundation board members Jim Reading, Frank Cirone and Ron Brian all attended the ceremony.
Tullman said the foundation was instrumental in bringing about the expansion, as well as Borough Manager E. Jean Krack, who was also present.
Borough council members Dave Gautreau and Mike Speck along with Community Health Foundation President Lou Beccaria were among the hard-hatted crowd at the construction site as well.
“It really has been remarkable growth,” said Dr. Christopher Holroyde, director of Phoenixville’s cancer center. “We are approaching the top of the mountain.”
Bringing in the new machine will enable more patients to get their care close to home as opposed to traveling somewhere like Philadelphia.
“This is the most advanced thing you’ll find in a community center,” Tullman said.
Additionally, Tullman said that he has been a patient at his own hospital and there is a chance that the linear accelerator might end up benefitting him.
“Who knows? Maybe I’ll need that machine,” he said.
The expansion, which will exceed $7 million in costs of construction, equipment and maintenance, is slated to be finished in either July or August this year, according to Mike Kelly, the hospital’s director of operations.
IMC Construction was contracted for the project and has already begun significant work at the site. The company’s president, Robert Cottone, was also on hand for the ceremony.
Phoenixville’s cancer center is partner with the Penn Cancer Network, run by the University of Pennsylvania.
Both Chen and Holroyde are Penn doctors and Chen sees the expansion as an opportunity beyond better treatment.
“I think (the expansion) also strengthens our relationship with Penn,” Chen said.
Tullman credited the staff at the hospital with their care for patients driving the successes of The Cancer Center at Phoenixville Hospital.