Joint Radiation Center To Upgrade And Expand

Latest Cancer Treatment Options To Be Offered

Four area hospitals that jointly operate the Lakeshore Area Radiation Oncology Center (LAROC) announced that they are upgrading and expanding services.

Construction on the $5.5 million dollar project will add a second vault containing a state-of-the-art linear accelerator to provide radiation treatments for cancer patients. Patient treatments using the new accelerator will begin spring of 2009.’The project also would include expanding the number of exam rooms and waiting areas as well as renovation of the facility.

The current linear accelerator would remain in service while the new addition housing the new accelerator is built. Upon completion, the old accelerator would be deactivated. That area would then be used for treatments such as a form of irradiation called high dose rate brachytherapy (HDR).’HDR is a form of cancer treatment that uses a radioactive source placed directly into a tumor or tumor bed region for a short period of time. It limits the amount of radiation exposure to healthy tissue. This treatment is currently not provided in the Holland-Zeeland area.

A new accelerator also would allow patients to receive Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), and to fully expand and complete our ability to provide Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) at LAROC. IMRT and IGRT are technologies designed to improve the precision and effectiveness of cancer treatments by giving doctors the ability to target and track tumors more accurately.

LAROC is a cooperative venture between Holland Community Hospital, North Ottawa Community Hospital, Zeeland Community Hospital and Spectrum Health.’It opened in 1993 and expects to provide 7,700 treatments using the linear accelerator this fiscal year.’This cooperative service was one of the first joint ventures among hospitals in West Michigan and has successfully provided quality radiation oncology services to patients in the Lakeshore region.

“Our existing linear accelerator is scheduled for replacement so we have the opportunity to upgrade equipment and provide more treatment options for patients in the Lakeshore area,” said Mary Mencarelli, director of radiation oncology, Spectrum Health. “This project allows us to update equipment to meet a growing need, and also allows us to provide the necessary building infrastructure to support this program expansion.”

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system in West Michigan that offers a full continuum of care through its seven hospitals, more than 140 service sites and 560,000-member health plan, Priority Health.’Spectrum Health’s 14,000 employees, 1,500 medical staff members and 2,000 volunteers are committed to delivering the highest quality care to those in medical need. The organization provided $98.6 million in community benefit during its 2007 fiscal year. Spectrum Health has earned more than 50 national awards during the past 10 years.