A $10.4 million radiation treatment facility opened Monday at UCHealth Memorial Hospital North, marking the first time that radiation treatment has been offered in a location convenient to residents of Monument and northern El Paso County.
The 9,600-square foot building, designed like a spa with contemporary finishes and modern art, houses a new Varian Trubeam, a linear accelerator which offers the latest and best radiation treatment to cancer patients. The equipment sits in a vault of concrete, with 7.5-foot-thick walls of high-density concrete to shield and absorb radiation. Hundreds of physicians and Memorial employees celebrated the new building during an open house March 30.
Dr. Jane Ridings, a radiation oncologist with Memorial Hospital, said the vast majority of patients who are treated at the facility have malignant cancer, though the linear accelerator is also used to treat patients who have benign tumors or benign conditions. Two-thirds of patients diagnosed with cancer ultimately need radiation as part of their treatment, she said.
Patients of all ages are treated, including but not limited to those who have breast, brain, head and neck, lung, prostate, rectal and other gastro-intestinal tumors, Ridings said.
“Part of our hope was to create a spa-like feel,’’ Ridings said. “Cancer treatment is stressful, and while our staff is amazing at putting people at ease — patients often comment on how wonderful our staff is — having an updated environment that goes with it says that we care deeply about the patient experience.’’
The facility is designed with patient convenience in mind. Patients quickly check in at the front desk, and then go to a dressing room with lockers and into the treatment room. The entire experience takes 15-20 minutes, which is important for patients because the treatment often requires many patients to come five days a week for two to eight weeks.
Hundreds of physicians, employees and community members attended an Open House March 30 of a new Radiation Oncology center at Memorial Hospital North. A new linear accelerator offers the latest and best radiation treatment to cancer patients.
“They’re usually in and out of the department within 20 minutes, but the commuting time can be substantial. So this is a major improvement in access to cancer care for people in Monument and northern Colorado Springs,’’ Ridings said.
Daniel Lenard, radiation oncology manager for Memorial Hospital, said four of 10 patients who receive radiation oncology at Memorial Hospital Central near downtown Colorado Springs live in the northern region of the community. UCHealth is soon to embark on a major renovation of radiation oncology at MHC. That facility will also receive a new linear accelerator.
The radiation oncology building is the second major expansion to the Memorial Hospital North campus. A cardiac catheterization lab opened in mid-August, providing patients with quick access to life-saving, expert care in cardiac emergencies.