Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health: Advancing the Future of Cancer Care in Lancaster

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health’s state-of-the-art Proton Therapy Center at Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute (ABBCI) is bringing advanced, innovative cancer treatment to Lancaster and central Pennsylvania.

A regional leader in innovative therapy, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health’s state-of-the-art Proton Therapy Center at Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute (ABBCI) is bringing advanced, innovative cancer treatment to Lancaster and central Pennsylvania.

Planned for opening this fall 2022, the center marks a new chapter in Penn Medicine’s global leadership in proton therapy clinical care and research, providing Pennsylvania’s second location to offer proton therapy for cancer patients, and the first and only proton center in central Pennsylvania. The Proton Therapy Center will provide world class practices in this emerging technology, bringing advanced options in cancer treatment to our community. Proton therapy will be added to the Cancer Institute’s broad array of radiation-therapy services uniquely offered in a single location by a community hospital.

The opening of the center is another example of LG Health’s investment in delivering the best possible healthcare options directly to Lancaster and the surrounding communities. Offering this advanced treatment close to home greatly improves convenience and quality of life for patients and their families.

“Lancaster’s own proton therapy center is one of the most significant investments Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, or any health system, could make on behalf of our community’s health, ensuring that our region continues to have direct access to state-of-the-art cancer care,” said Randall A. Oyer, MD, FACCC, Executive Medical Director, Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute and Cancer Services. “Working collaboratively with Penn Medicine’s oncology experts at the Roberts Proton Therapy Center in Philadelphia, the Proton Therapy Center at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute highlights LG Health as a global leader in proton therapy in the community.”

What is proton therapy?
Proton therapy is a type of radiation therapy that uses high-energy proton beams to destroy cancer cells. With protons (which are positively charged atoms) as the energy source, proton therapy offers greater precision and accuracy than conventional radiation therapy using X-rays, so that normal tissue does not receive radiation that it does not need.

Proton therapy is the most advanced radiation treatment for cancer tumors that are located close to critical organs and highly sensitive areas, like the spinal cord, heart, and brain. This type of treatment provides new options for patients whose cancers cannot be completely removed by surgery, or who have previously received conventional radiation in the same area.

How does it work?
Proton therapy uses a positively charged proton beam that enters the body at a lower dose of radiation than conventional radiation therapy. Conventional X-ray radiation treatment enters the body, preferentially kills and targets cancer cells but also delivers unintended low-dose radiation to surrounding healthy tissues as it exits the patient. In contrast, when the proton beam hits the cancer that it is targeting, it damages only the cancer cells and then diminishes, preventing the radiation from moving through healthy tissue or exiting the other side of the body. This enables healthy tissue to be spared, while maximizing the attack on cancer cells. Less radiation exposure to nearby healthy tissue reduces the risk of side effects.

“Choosing the right team for cancer care makes a difference for a patient’s health and peace of mind. With proton therapy, the most advanced form of radiation, LG Health will continue to provide exceptional care and peace of mind with advanced technology here at home in Lancaster,” Oyer said.

The new Lancaster center will provide proton therapy in a brand new nearly 8,000-square-foot, four-story building adjacent to ABBCI.

“We dedicate our proton therapy center to the people of Lancaster, to patients and families in need, to our expert and compassionate physicians, and to our supporters and our community leaders,” Oyer said.

LG Health has nearly 130 years of investing in its people, its technology, and its facilities to ensure that our community has access to the most advanced healthcare services available, and this next chapter is a continuation of that rich history of commitment to the community.

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