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Joining forces



Published: Thu, September 23, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

New 13,000-square-foot facility is central hub for local cancer patients

By GRACE WYLER

gwyler@vindy.com

AUSTINTOWN

The Valley’s two major urology groups have teamed up, combining their services in a new facility that will give local patients access to the most advanced technology available.

After years of competition in the area’s growing urology health market, NEO Urology Associates and Advanced Urology Inc., have joined forces with Humility of Mary Health Partners to form Partners for Urology Health, a $9 million urology clinic at 6262 Mahoning Ave.

The 13,000-square-foot facility, which opened earlier this year, is a central hub where local patients with prostate cancer and other urologic health conditions can get all the treatment and services they need under one roof, said Marge Baker, director of oncology services for HMHP. The center is equipped with the latest technology in radiation oncology.

“The driving force behind the partnership was to offer state-of-the-art care to our patients with prostate cancer,” Baker said. “Both of the practices saw the need to be able to provide this care to these types of patients, but no one entity would be able to financially sustain this kind of venture.”

The new center allows Mahoning Valley patients to receive all their treatment closer to home, she added.

Partners for Urology Health is equipped with a $2 million Elekta Volumetric Modulated Therapy system, which uses X-rays to conform radiation to the shape of the tumor.

Used with radiation targeting technology — which takes 3D images to monitor the exact location of the prostate — the system is able to deliver radiation only to the precise, intended area, which allows for more aggressive treatment to the target area, said Eric Svenson, a radiation oncologist with Partners for Urology Health.

“We provide a level of service for prostate cancer that is not available anywhere else in this area,” Svenson said.

“By being more accurate, we can increase the dose of radiation so there is a much higher chance for cure.”

The center provides a much-needed service in the Valley as the number of prostate-cancer patients continues to rise, Svenson said.

“We are diagnosing prostate cancer much earlier, so there are more candidates that are candidates for this treatment,” he said. “And as the baby boomers come of age, there are more people in their 60s and 70s, which is the primary age range for [prostate-cancer] patients.”

In addition to providing advanced radiation therapy, the Partners for Urology Health facility is also a one-stop shop for all of the consultations, tests and exams that are part of the treatment process, Svenson said.

The facility, designed by Youngstown’s Strollo Architects, is divided in quadrants — the two urology practices occupy identical spaces along the east half of the facility, joined by a multiuse common space, and the radiation services occupy the second half.

Treatment takes place in the northwest corner “vault,” protected by 7-foot thick concrete walls and a lead door.

The center was designed with patient comfort in mind, said Rodney Lamberson, vice president of Strollo Architects.

The center atrium is lined with windows to let in natural light, and the materials used in the construction were selected to ensure air quality, he said.

“Our intent was to make this as pleasant an experience as possible,” Lamberson said. “We wanted it to be a welcoming, reassuring environment to be in.”

The building’s interior design also was done with patient well-being in mind, he said.

The center’s walls are painted in soft blues, greens and yellows, and nature photographs line the hallways and exam rooms.

The facility also incorporates recycled materials and other environmentally sustainable features, Lamberson said.

The design of the building was a collaborative effort between the architects, building contractors and the clinicians, Baker said. The end result is ideally suited to the urology’s center’s needs, she added.

“There was a lot of thought put into this facility,” Baker said. “Everyone worked together for the common good of the patient.”


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