Date: 1/30/2004

Center for Imaging & Radiation Oncology opens at St. Mary Medical Center

In its ongoing efforts to make high-quality healthcare more convenient and accessible to patients, Community Healthcare System has expanded its radiation oncology and diagnostic imaging services on the Hobart campus with the new Center for Imaging & Radiation Oncology at St. Mary Medical Center.

This new center gives patients an additional option when planning an MRI. They can now choose between the hospital campus and the Portage Outpatient Health Center of St. Mary Medical
Center depending on what’s closest or more convenient to their schedules. Patients can expect the same timely service, kindness and attention at the new Hobart center they have come to expect from the staff in Portage.

The new center also brings convenient, state-of-the-art radiation oncology to the patients of St. Mary Medical Center. This new oncology service includes the addition of a physicist and additional staff. “This center is a good thing for our patients at St. Mary,” said Matt Matushek, director of radiation oncology for Community Healthcare System, which also includes Community Hospital in Munster and St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago. “It brings a lot of resources to the patient to provide the most thorough diagnostics and treatment planning available.”

Located on campus but away from the hustle and bustle of the main hospital building, the quiet center at the northeast corner of 61st Avenue and Ash Street is equipped with mega-voltage radiation therapy in the form of Siemens’ latest model digital linear accelerator. This accelerator utilizes 3-D conformal radiation therapy and intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), advanced technology that more precisely delivers radiation to the tumor site, sparing healthy tissue and organs.

Services are uniquely designed around the needs of patients, who typically receive treatment on an outpatient basis. Inpatients are also treated at the new center.

Radiation Oncologist Koppolu Sarma, M.D., is medical director of the center. He and other physicians are able to use FOCALISM, a CT based system that creates a three-dimensional model of the patient enabling the radiation oncologist and physicist to accurately plan the delivery of radiation to the tumor while sparing surrounding normal tissue.

The FOCALISM system also allows doctors and other members of the treatment team to simulate how the patient will be treated. The radiation therapy team has the ability to combine the results of MRI and CT scan into one image, allowing for more accurate prediction of the tumor structure. “Combining the two of them, you get the best of both diagnostic tools,” Matushek said.

Radiopharmaceutical therapy, in which radioactive material is introduced to the body, is also offered at the center for treatment of thyroid and bone metastasis. For more information on the services of the Center for Imaging & Radiation Oncology, please call (219)947-2505.