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Claxton-Hepburn breaks ground on cancer center expansion

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OGDENSBURG — Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center has broken ground on an expansion of the Richard E. Winter Cancer Treatment Center.

At a ceremony Monday evening attended by board members, donors, staff members and residents to celebrate the history of the center, leaders spoke about their hopes for its future.

The $4.2 million expansion of the center at 214 King St. will see the addition of a new Trilogy linear accelerator made by Varian Medical Systems.

Dr. John Gebert, a radiation oncologist, said the technology will assist cancer patients by “giving a tremendous dose of radiation directed at that particular point, and you destroy that tumor then and there.”

Unlike other radiation delivery systems, the linear accelerator gives doctors the ability to use a lot of radiation on a small area without damaging adjacent tissue.

Dr. Gebert said breast cancer patients who usually have to have six weeks or more of radiation treatment will be able to go home in one week with the new technology.

Claxton-Hepburn President and CEO Mark A. Webster said, “Today’s ground breaking is an investment in Ogdensburg and the community. It is an investment in our battle against cancer.”

The 3,264-square-foot expansion will include 7-foot-thick concrete walls to protect against unintended exposure to radiation.

Construction is expected to take six to nine months.

Maureen L. Missert, a member of the Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center Foundation board of directors and a breast cancer survivor, said the improved center will allow more people to be treated locally.

Mrs. Missert was treated locally, but with older technology, she said. This new treatment center will be able to speed up recovery and allow people to fight cancer surrounded by loving friends and family.

“They will be able to stay here, which was so important for me,” she said.

Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center board of directors Chairman Joseph Tracy said, “We hope none of you have to use our services, but if you do you should know they are among the best in the state.”

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