Patients can now receive cutting-edge radiation oncology treatment in a convenient northwest-side location thanks to a 12,000-square-foot expansion at The University of Arizona Cancer Center - Orange Grove.
“This satellite facility brings state-of-the-art technology to the community,” said Baldassarre Stea, MD, PhD, head of the University of Arizona's Department of Radiation Oncology, whose physicians will staff the new facility, located at 1891 W. Orange Grove Road, which opened in June.
The radiation oncology expansion complements the medical and surgical oncology services already offered at the location, a partnership between The University of Arizona Medical Center and the University of Arizona Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“The Orange Grove location really offers patient-centered care,” Dr. Stea said. “We will work side-by-side with medical oncologists so patients can get chemotherapy there, walk a few steps and then get radiation. It’s truly multidisciplinary care.”
In addition to benefiting from a team approach to treatment, patients at the Orange Grove location will have access to novel clinical trials and some of the most advanced precision technology available.
“What we have there is a PET-CT Simulator, one machine that does both PET and CT scan at the same time,” Dr. Stea said. “It has state-of-the-art imaging for visualizing the tumor for the best accuracy possible. Very few institutions have it. I don’t think there’s one like it in the entire state of Arizona.”
The facility also has the Trilogy Stereotactic System, an innovative linear accelerator – the device that delivers radiation – with CT image guidance capability.
“Prior to treatment, the doctor will take a CT scan to verify within a millimeter that we’re right on target,” Dr. Stea said. “This machine is extremely fast, so treatment delivery will take approximately 3 minutes. Studies show that the faster the delivery, the more precise it is.”
The radiation oncology facility can treat up to 40 patients a day and accommodate 500 new-patient consultations a year. One radiation oncologist has joined the team of 10 physicians at the location, but there is room for growth.
“Five years from now I see four radiation oncologists and 12 medical oncologists practicing there,” said Dr. Stea, who added that the average person gets radiation for five weeks, so the expansion will make getting treatment much more convenient for patients on Tucson’s growing northwest side.
“I am excited about the addition of radiation oncology at The University of Arizona Cancer Center - Orange Grove,” said Emad Elquza, MD, the facility’s medical director. “We will now be able to provide comprehensive care including surgical care, administration of chemotherapy and radiation treatment at the same site. This will provide better continuity of care and make it more convenient for our patients.”