Wentworth-Douglass Hospital Marks 30 years of Cancer Care
Wentworth-Douglass Hospital’s regional cancer treatment program began in August 1979 in a small room divided by curtains off the old Emergency Department. The care team included three part-time nurses, Steven Paul, MD and Henry Sonneborn, MD. Fifteen patients were seen every week for medical oncology services only.
Today, the Seacoast Cancer Center offers multiple therapeutic approaches to cancer care including medical and radiation therapy. Everyday over 100 patients visit the Cancer Center from the Seacoast area and beyond.
According to the Hospital President and CEO Gregory Walker, FACHE, the growth and service enhancements in the Seacoast Cancer Center are shining examples of a strong commitment to the hospital’s vision. “The Seacoast Cancer Center’s evolution over the past thirty years truly underscores our vision to be ‘the highest quality community hospital in northern New England,’” he said. “Our patients consistently remind us of the true value our Center offers with state of the art technology in the hands of very caring staff.”
The hospital’s Seacoast Cancer Center was the first in Northern New England to offer Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy and High Dose Rate Brachytherapy – systems that tightly target radiation to effectively treat tumors while sparing healthy tissue.
Last year the Center implemented its Quantum Leap in Technology initiative with two specialized treatments: MammoSite and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). MammoSite reduces the length of conventional radiation treatment time, for women with certain types of breast cancer, from weeks to two treatments a day for five days. This fall the Center will treat its 100th MammoSite patient.
The Center was also the first hospital in the nation to introduce the most advanced stereotactic radiosurgery treatment system called the Novalis TX, a unique combination product of Brain Lab and Varian Medical Systems for the treatment of multiple and complex cancer diagnoses including brain tumors. SRS, for certain diagnoses, delivers the equivalent of a full course of radiation treatment (typically 4-6 weeks of daily treatment) in only one to five visits.