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Claxton-Hepburn breaks ground on cancer center expansion

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Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center broke ground on the new expansion of the Richard W. Winter Cancer Treatment Center Monday evening.

The ceremony, attended by board members, donors, staff, administrators, employees and friends, celebrated the history of the center and speakers spoke about their hopes for its future.

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

Dr. John Gebert, 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 see seven-foot thick concrete walls installed in parts to protect against unintended exposure to radiation.

“Our hope is to increase the number of cancer conquerors in our community,” Mr. Webster said. “We will continue our mission of healing and we will continue our message of hope until cancer is finally cured.”

Maureen L. Missert, member of the Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors, past chair of the Medical Center Board and breast cancer survivor said the new 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 Chair 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.”

The project will see the cancer treatment center expanding slightly into the parking lot near the corner of Mansion Avenue and Ogden Street.

Construction will take between six and nine months.

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