Cancer patients from the region will soon be able to have better access to care in Morgantown now that construction is underway on a new radiation therapy unit at Mon General Hospital's Zelda Stein Weiss Cancer Center.

Mon Health System and WVU Medicine officials gathered Dec. 8 for a groundbreaking ceremony at Mon General Hospital. Radiation therapy at Mon General is a partnership between the two Morgantown-based healthcare institutions. Mon Health System is covering the cost of constructing and equipping the new facility, while radiation oncology staff and medical direction will be supplied by the WVU Cancer Institute in collaboration with Mon General oncologists. 

The partnership takes advantage of the resources of an academic medical center, while providing Mon General cancer patients the full complement of cancer services on the same campus as their doctors and familiar staff.  

The $7-million radiation oncology unit is expected to be completed in the fall of 2016. It will include a newly purchased linear accelerator, bringing the most advanced technology in radiation treatment to the community. The 2,200-square-foot linear accelerator vault is part of an overall renovation of the Zelda Stein Weiss Cancer Center, including 4,000 square feet of clinic and staff work areas.

Radiation therapy is one of three major components of cancer treatment, along with surgery and chemotherapy. Depending on the patient, treatment may include one, two or all three modalities. 

Geraldine Jacobson, M.D., chair of the WVU Cancer Institute Department of Radiation Oncology, will have oversight of the new center in collaboration with Mon General oncologists and staff at the Zelda Stein Weiss Cancer Center. WVU Cancer Institute staff will provide radiation oncology services. 

Under the partnership, cancer patients will have access to the services at both Mon General’s Zelda Stein Weiss Cancer Center and the WVU Cancer Institute’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. They also will have access to the radiation therapy center located at Fairmont General Hospital. The radiation oncology faculty at the WVU Cancer Institute will be members of the Mon General Hospital Tumor Board, creating an ideal environment for care coordination. Additionally, patients at both facilities will have access to a wide array of clinical trials. 

Both the Zelda Stein Weiss Cancer Center and the WVU Cancer Institute are accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.