Lancaster General health system, which was acquired by Penn Medicine 4 years ago, has begun the development of a new $48mn proton center.
The proton center will be a part of the Lancaster General’s 6-year-old cancer institute, Ann B Barshinger. It would be the second center in Pennsylvania that will offer high-tech radiation therapy to the cancer patients once it opens.
Penn has a big proton center already located at University City Campus. Besides, it is developing another $35mn proton therapy center at Voorhees in collaboration with Virtua.
The importance of proton therapy center has grown massively in spite of all the controversy as the cost of the therapy is higher and usually has not been proved to be a better alternative to traditional radiation therapy. Protons, in theory, hold therapeutic benefits as they cease within the target cancer, sparing the healthy adjacent tissue.
The absence of health insurance coverage still remains an issue for several patients. However, the issue is slowly evolving as medicare now covers proton therapy. In fact, Penn has even negotiated insurance coverage with key insurers.
Notably, the upcoming Lancaster proton center will comprise of just one treatment room. It’s expected to be ready by 2021 fall and treat around 250 patients per year.