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Radiation Oncology

Allegheny General Hospital

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The Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) Department of Radiation Oncology is the lead facility of 8 radiation oncology clinics integrating and optimizing patient care within the West Penn Allegheny Health System (WPAHS) Radiation Oncology Network. Patients and referring physicians at  Allegheny General Hospital can be confident that they have access to one of the region’s and nation’s leading radiation oncology department’s programs, staff, training, equipment, and expertise. We provide continual state-of-the-art care in the community, and when necessary, tertiary care is available at Allegheny General Hospital for specialty procedures that can further improve patient care.

The AGH Radiation Oncology Program and WPAHS Radiation Oncology Network is striving to merge sophisticated technology with compassionate patient care in a collaborative multidisciplinary environment. Our mission is to optimize and advance patient care. To that end, we have developed significant infrastructure in the form of expert clinical, technical, management teams, programs, and processes to integrate standard patient care, advanced patient care, education, research and development, and community outreach in radiation oncology.  We have achieved substantial collaborative growth resulting in one of the largest, most advanced and innovative radiation oncology practices in the country.  In a recent review by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, reviewers commented that ours was the “best integrated program they have seen in the country”.

Eight departmental programs have been developed to carry out this comprehensive integrative work in radiation oncology:

1.  Clinical Program
              Physician Expertise Development by Disease Site, Incorporation of
             Advancing Technology in Clinical Studies

2.  Technical Program
             Standardization of Procedures, Integration of Sites, Research and
             Development of Advancing Technology

3.  Clinical Research Program (Office of Clinical Studies)
             National Cooperative Clinical Trials, Industry Clinical Trials,
             Department Clinical Trials

4.  Information Technology Program
             Radiation Oncology Specific Oncology Information System,
             Verification and Recording, Treatment Delivery, Radiation  Treatment 
             Planning, Imaging, Electronic Medical Record, Data Input, Data
             Fidelity, Data Storage, Image Guided Radiation Therapy

5.  Residency Training/Education Program

6.  Industry Collaboration Program

7.  Translational/Correlative Science Program

8.  Community Outreach Program

Implementation of these programs throughout WPAHS Radiation Oncology Network has resulted in significant improvement in radiation oncology capability.  All sites have achieved current standard conformal radiation practice with present work focused on advancing practice. The strategy in radiation oncology is to develop and implement advancing programs and technologies at AGH and then export these capabilities in a staged manner throughout the network.  Promoting evidence-based medicine through the clinical trials process is central to these programs.

The latest technologies are utilized to maximally conform and individualize radiation treatments. These include three-dimensional conformal external beam radiotherapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery/stereotactic radiotherapy and, electron beam irradiation including
total skin electron beam therapy and operative placement of radiation with both low-dose rate and high-dose rate capabilities (brachytherapy).

Treatment programs for all malignancies, as well as many benign tumors and conditions, have been developed in the setting of multidisciplinary tumor groups. These are comprised of radiation oncologists, surgeons, medical oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, disease-site specialists, and related health-care professionals, including nutritionists, social workers, alternative medicine specialists and geneticists.

Our disease-specific sites of focus include:  lung, gastrointestinal, reticuloendothelial, central nervous system, genitourinary, head and neck, colorectal, eye and orbit, breast, gynecology, soft tissue and bone, and skin.  Multidisciplinary clinics and tumor boards exist for brain tumors, head and neck cancer, including eye and orbit, lung cancer, breast cancer, gynecologic cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, esophageal cancer, lymphoma/Hodgkin’s disease/leukemia, and skin/musculoskeletal malignancies (basal and squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, sarcoma).

The Radiation Oncology Department at AGH has gained one of the largest and longest experiences in advanced external beam conformal techniques, including intensity-modulated radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery and 3-D conformal radiation, as well as all brachytherapy techniques including cardiac and coronary or intravascular brachytherapy.

In a time of rapidly expanding technical capabilities in radiation oncology, the AGH Department of Radiation Oncology has developed a vision and model that brings these capabilities to the community while maintaining the independence and strength of community hospitals and promoting more effective collaborations with academic/tertiary care hospitals. Currently, in addition to Department of Radiation Oncology at Allegheny General Hospital, there are seven community hospital radiation oncology clinics that are part of the AGH Radiation Oncology Network.  These include:

Allegheny Valley Hospital (Alle-Kiski Medical Center) Radiation Oncology in Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania
Armstrong Center for Medicine and Health (Richard G. Laube Cancer Center) in Kittanning, Pennsylvania
Sharon Regional Hospital Radiation Oncology in Sharon, Pennsylvania
Somerset Hospital Radiation Oncology in Somerset, Pennsylvania
Trinity Hospital Radiation Oncology in Steubenville, Ohio
West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
West Penn Hospital-Forbes Campus Radiation Oncology (InterCommunity Cancer Center) in Monroeville, Pennsylvania
Each of these clinics now has state-of-the-art technology with improved and updated treatment programs including 3-D conformal radiation and Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy capabilities allowing for improved cure rates and lesser toxicity for multiple types of cancer.  All clinics are participating in research and development projects, quality assurance, and outcomes analysis. These innovative collaborations have produced mutually beneficial bridges between Allegheny General Hospital, an academic/tertiary care hospital, and multiple community hospitals promoting the mission of optimizing and advancing radiation oncology care for patients of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio.

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