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Penn State Health St. Joseph Breaks Ground on $5.5 Million Cancer Center Expansion

Addition offers new cutting-edge treatment options for Berks community

Reading, Pa., April 4, 2018 – A new $5.5 million addition to the Penn State Health St. Joseph Cancer Center to open by year’s end will offer people in the Berks region faster, more targeted radiation treatments close to home.

Penn State Health St. Joseph leaders and staff and Penn State Health executives broke ground on the project today in Bern Township, Pa.

Highlights of the expansion include a 2,400-square-foot addition to accommodate a growing patient base, as well as a new, state-of-the-art TrueBeam linear accelerator. This sophisticated technology will offer cancer patients faster, more targeted radiation treatment that is more comfortable, more precise and causes fewer side effects.

“It’s the most advanced radiation treatment technology available,” says Dr. Navesh Sharma, associate professor of radiology and chief of radiation oncology for the St. Joseph Cancer Center. “This investment enables us to offer our patients the full scope of radiation oncology services right here in the Berks region.”

St. Joseph Cancer Center provides state-of-the-art cancer treatment, including genetic education, counseling and testing for people at high cancer risk, minimally invasive internal radiation therapy for liver tumors and cutting-edge clinical trials research for new cancer treatments.

The hallmark of the TrueBeam linear accelerator technology is a powerful combination of 2D, 3D and 4D imaging that is updated every 10 milliseconds, monitors a patient’s breathing and body movement and permits faster, more potent radiation doses directly to a tumor site without damage to surrounding tissue or nearby organs. St. Joseph Cancer physicians can tailor individualized treatment plans much more precisely, which drastically reduces treatment time for patients. Treatments also can be delivered more efficiently in fewer—and shorter—treatment sessions.

“With this TrueBeam technology, we have some extremely sophisticated tumor tracking and imaging capabilities,” says Karen Wagner, St. Joseph’s director of oncology services. “The real value of this technology is that it will enable St. Joseph to offer patients options that were previously unavailable here.”

Dr. Marc Rovito, assistant professor of medicine and medical director of St. Joseph Cancer Center, notes that Penn State Health’s investment in the Berks County site illustrates its commitment to providing the best of care to patients.

“Currently, these patients have to go elsewhere for the TrueBeam treatment option, but they will not in the future,” Rovito said. “Through Penn State Health providers, cancer patients will have access to the incredible resources of a renowned university teaching and research hospital while receiving high-quality care close to home.”

Rovito noted that as a member of Penn State Health, patients at St. Joseph with especially complex needs have expedited access to the specialists of the Penn State Cancer Institute in Hershey, Pa.

About Penn State Health St. Joseph
Penn State Health St. Joseph is a nonprofit healthcare network consisting of St. Joseph Medical Center, the Downtown Reading Campus, St. Joseph Medical Group, St. Joseph Physician Hospital Organization and the St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation. St. Joseph became a member of Penn State Health in July 2015. The PSH St. Joseph Cancer Center is nationally accredited by the Commission on Cancer, American College of Radiology and Quality Oncology Practice Initiative.

The St. Joseph Medical Group features a network of more than 140 physicians and mid-level providers across most specialties and includes an ambulatory network that stretches across Berks County. Medical group physicians are part of a nearly 400-member medical staff consisting of board certified and fellowship trained physicians. St. Joseph is a teaching hospital, offering a three-year family practice medical residency program and serving as a training site for several college and university nursing and allied health professional degreed programs. St. Joseph has nearly 1,600 employees and $240 million in annual operating revenue. It registers approximately 47,000 emergency room visits and roughly 7,500 inpatient admissions annually. More information is available at www.thefutureofhealthcare.org.

About Penn State Health
Penn State Health is a multi-hospital health system serving patients and communities across 29 counties in central Pennsylvania. The system includes Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Penn State Children’s Hospital, and Penn State Cancer Institute based in Hershey, Pa.; Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center in Reading, Pa.; and more than 1,400 physicians and direct care providers at 119 medical office locations. Additionally, the system jointly operates various health care providers, including Penn State Health Rehabilitation Hospital, Hershey Outpatient Surgery Center, Hershey Endoscopy Center, Horizon Home Healthcare and Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute. In December 2017, Penn State Health partnered with Highmark Health to facilitate creation of a value-based, community care network in the region. Penn State Health shares an integrated strategic plan and operations with Penn State College of Medicine, the University’s medical school.