By ALISSA SCOTT
New York Oncology Hematol-ogy is making a $3 million technological investment at its cancer center in Amsterdam and will begin providing new radiation therapy this summer.
"We're going to continue to provide the best and be the forerunner of cancer care in the community," NYOH executive director Edwin Graham said, "so that patients can remain in the community if they want to receive their care."
NYOH was able to make the multi-million dollar investment with the help of U.S. Oncology, an "important business partner," and as a result will be the only provider of the new radiation technology in the area -- an addition to the medical oncology already available.
The new equipment, a Varian iX linear accelerator (linac) and a General Electric CT Simulator, will provide the "most advanced cancer radiation therapy" available in the region, according to a news release.
Investing in the new technology allows the center to continue providing patients with the "best radiation treatments available," the center's radiation oncologist Arsyl De Jesus said.
"With built in X-ray and CT imaging systems, the linac will allow us to better target cancer in real-time," De Jesus said.
The other new piece of equipment, the CT Simulator, is used for radiation treatment planning. It uses special imaging techniques to scan more quickly, while more precisely defining the size, shape and location of tumors.
The investment will also include office renovations to accommodate the new technology.
Graham said the new technology will directly impact the community's economic development.
"I suspect the technology, which will be the newest one in the broader community, may actually end up having patients who may be otherwise seeking care out of the area to stay in Amsterdam," Graham said. "By ensuring that we are a destination of service for folks who are in the need of cancer care, we hope that also serves as a catalyst or stimulant for economic development in the community."
He said as it may draw patients from beyond Amsterdam's borders, after they receive care, they may take advantage of the city's shops and restaurants.
Congressman Paul Tonko, an Amsterdam native, agreed.
"Thanks to New York Oncology Hematology's investment it its Amsterdam Cancer Center, more families will have convenient access to state-of-the-art cancer treatment right in our own community," Tonko said. "In addition to their major investment, we also recognize NYOH as a vital catalyst, spurring economic development through its planned improvements to Riverfront Center."
Renovations will begin in March and are expected to finish in June. In the meantime, radiation patients will continue to be served at NYOH offices in Rexford and at Patroon Creek in Albany, according to a news release.
Robert H. Goslin, MD, medical oncologist at the center, said he and other physicians in the practice will continue to see new and existing medical oncology patients in the Amsterdam office.
The doctors will also be reaching out to referring physicians -- doctors who send patients to NYOH for cancer treatment -- to explain the capabilities of the new radiation equipment.
"We're thrilled to continue commitment and very genuinely serve in the community," Graham said. "This was the opportune time to upgrade our equipment. We're thrilled to be making this $3 million investment in the community and it represents, in essence, the larger commitment to doing what we do, which is provide the best cancer care possible to patients who need it."