St. Joseph Medical Center held a blessing and dedication ceremony Sept. 20 for its new Cancer Center in Bern Township.The new facility, located in the Garden Level of the Medical Office Building, has radiation and medical oncology specialists.

"In the old hospital, we were on several floors," said cancer center Director Karen Wagner. "Now, we are all together and that makes it much easier for us to communicate with each other. It also makes for better communication with patients and their families."

The cancer center also has more and larger exam and infusion rooms, where patients receive outpatient chemotherapy.

Oncology specialist Dr. Patrick Colarusso radiation oncologist Dr. Lesley Hughes are two of the leading physicians at the facility.

St. Joseph spent $7 million on state-of-the-art technologies, including: Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), and High Dose Rate Afterloading (HDR) Brachytherapy.

"More than half of our current cancer patients are treated with radiation therapy in which high-energy radiation is carefully used to pinpoint and destroy cancer cells in the body,"

Wagner said. "The new technology will make those treatments even more effective."

St. Joseph President and CEO John Morahan said that in 2006, about 1.4 million people were diagnosed with cancer. New technology will allow millions of people to control the disease and continue living as survivors, he said.

St. Joseph is an American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer-accredited Community Hospital Comprehensive Cancer program and a member of the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Network.

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