As the Mahoning Valley continues to grow, so too do the community’s heath care needs. Access to cancer care close to home can make all the difference in a patient’s outcomes, which is why our Youngstown market has expanded its medical and radiation oncology services.
You may wonder, what is medical and radiation oncology?
Medical oncology treats cancer using medication, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy and other targeted therapies. Radiation therapy is also one of the many valuable tools that oncologists use to help cancer patients. Radiation oncology uses ionizing radiation, where radiation beams are directed at the tumor to damage the cancerous tissue and control cell growth.
Understanding that our Youngstown community had a need for increased cancer care, early this year we expanded our medical oncology services at Mercy Health – St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital. We also added other support services such as social work, nutrition services and financial navigation.
“Accessibility is key to outcomes for a patient diagnosed with cancer,” Carl R. Peterson III, MD, MS, DABR, medical director of our Youngstown oncology service line, says. “Given the high cancer rates in our area, the Youngstown region leadership evaluated numerous solutions to increase the volume of patients that can be treated with state-of-the-art care in the more southern aspect of the service area, including Columbiana County.”
St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital has also invested in technology advancements to enhance its existing radiation oncology services. This included adding a new linear accelerator that replaced a six-year-old machine. The linear accelerator provides more complex radiation treatments along with the ability to reduce the effects of breathing motions during treatments. Our ministry now has five linear accelerators operating across the Mahoning Valley.
“The linear accelerator at St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital is now state of the art, providing 3DCRT, IMRT, VMAT with on-board image guidance,” Dr. Peterson shares. “Most importantly, motion management is now available at this site, enabling specialized treatments of breast, lung and pancreas tumors. All of this hardware increases accuracy and precision.”
All of this is a vital step forward in providing more cancer services locally. This way, the people of Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana Counties no longer have to travel far for their care.
“This expansion elevates the number of patients that can be treated daily and reduces the time needed to get patients scheduled and treatment started,” Dr. Peterson says. “It also enables individuals with transportation difficulties to be more highly selective in their choice of location. With an on-site pharmacy and state-of-the-art radiation equipment now installed, nearly every cancer diagnosis can be treated.”
He continues, “our programmatic approach to oncology elevates the standard of care in this community. On-site, multidisciplinary care, clinical trials and high-end hardware are now available throughout the region, minutes from patients’ homes and offices. Providing this level of access supports our ministry’s mission and demonstrates the system’s dedication to our region.”
Learn more about the cancer care and oncology services we offer at Mercy Health.