New radiation oncology center opens its doors

With its opening, life for Kenai Peninsula residents living with cancer has changed for the better.

The Peninsula Radiation Oncology Center officially opened its doors Wednesday afternoon to the patients it will serve and the community as a whole. Inside, they found one of the most advanced radiation centers in the state.

“This is a dream come true for me as a physician,” said John Halligan, clinical director of the center. “To be able to offer state of the art clinical equipment with the most advanced technology on par with any major metropolitan community is impressive.”

Speaking from the first-hand experience of someone living with cancer, Kenai Mayor Pat Porter said the new center brought “comfort healing and hope” to the community. Now able to receive treatment in town, she and others will not have to spend a week in Anchorage and no longer have to deal with flights, hotel expenses and leave from work — all the logistics of life with cancer.

“We will never have to leave our homes for radiation treatment again,” she said.

Life with cancer in the central Kenai Peninsula before the center’s construction involved leaving the region for treatments, for up to six weeks at a time, and dealing with all the financial burdens that went with travel treatment.

The day’s event opened the 7,000 square foot cancer center at one corner of the Central Peninsula Hospital campus in Soldotna.

Entering the center is like walking into an upscale hotel lobby nicely outfitted with leather furniture and Alaskan art depicting life on the Peninsula covering the walls. Inside its radiation therapy vault there is a spa-like quality to the room that is home to linear accelerator that is at the center of the treatment.

With a three-member physician team, the center expects to treat 200 patients each year.

The $10 million facility is part of an overall expansion and enhancement of healthcare services in the community, said Alison Quackenbush, center spokesperson.

 

Reach Greg Skinner at greg.skinner@peninsulaclarion.com.

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