Lexington getting new cancer treatment services, $4 million investment

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

LEXINGTON ó Lexington Memorial Hospital and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have developed a partnership to provide radiation oncology services to Davidson County for the first time.
The two organizations will invest approximately $4 million in establishing the Cancer Center of Davidson County, which is scheduled to open early next year. Approximately 10 highly skilled clinical positions will be created in Lexington by the new service.
“Radiation oncology has been needed by cancer patients in Davidson County for years, and we are delighted to bring this valuable service to them in a convenient location in partnership with the world-class Comprehensive Care Center of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center,” said John Cashion, president and CEO of Lexington Memorial Hospital.
“We are delighted to form another partnership with our friends at Lexington Memorial,” said Donny Lambeth, interim president and chief operating officer of North Carolina Baptist Hospital. “Having radiation oncology services close to home will be very important to cancer patients and their family and friends.”
Early intervention is key in both cancer treatment and recovery, said Dr. William B. Applegate, interim president of Wake Forest University Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine. “In addition to helping our patients overcome cancer, we’re dedicated to helping them regain their quality of life and maintain their health,” he said.
Radiation therapy is the use of high-powered x-rays to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation also is used to control pain. A linear accelerator and treatment simulator will be housed in an expanded building on the Lexington Memorial campus. The linear accelerator is used for external beam radiation treatments for cancer patients.
The Cancer Center of Davidson County will include radiation and medical oncology services. Located in Winston-Salem, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center has been providing medical oncology services in a partnership with Lexington Memorial for the past 10 years.
Construction will begin this summer on the building, currently named the Lexington Community Cancer Center. The addition will be built to exacting specifications with lead and concrete walls to ensure safety.
Wake Forest Baptist will provide a team of cancer specialists, including a radiation oncologist and radiation physicist. A radiation oncologist is a physician who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer. A radiation physicist is a health professional trained to ensure that the radiation machine delivers the right amount of radiation to the treatment site.
Lexington Memorial will provide support services to the Cancer Center, including pathology, lab, pharmacy, physical therapy, dietary, social work and maintenance and engineering.
Wake Forest Baptist is one of only 41 cancer centers in the United States to hold the distinction of Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. The designation is earned by cancer centers that meet strict criteria for cancer research, collaboration and availability of advanced technologies. Wake Forest Baptist has been designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center since 1974.