Morristown Medical Center first in NJ to offer new breast cancer radiation treatment

Morristown Medical Center
Morristown Medical Center. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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From Morristown Medical Center:

Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center Only Hospital in New Jersey
To Offer AlignRT® Heart-Protecting and Tattoo-Free Breast Radiation Therapy

Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center is the only hospital in New Jersey to offer AlignRT® heart-protecting and tattoo-free breast radiation treatment. The new technology protects the heart when radiating the left breast and eliminates the need for permanent tattoos that help guide the radiation therapist in positioning a patient for treatment.

Morristown Medical Center was recently ranked by Castle Connolly as the top hospital in the state with more than 350 beds, and the #1 ranked hospital in New Jersey for breast cancer treatment. The Castle Connolly results are based on votes of more than one thousand physicians and reflect Atlantic Health System’s strong reputation among physicians across the state. Morristown Medical Center is also ranked #1 in the state by U.S. News & World Report and has been recognized as one of “America’s 50 Best Hospitals” by Healthgrades®.

“We have long been at the forefront of breast cancer treatment, with the same capabilities as many of the world’s leading academic medical centers,” said Mona Karim, MD, vice chair, radiation oncology, Morristown Medical Center.

“Our patients can rest assured that we have the best cancer treatment team, and the most forward-looking therapeutic modalities. AlignRT provides the latest example of the evidence-based, patient-centered technologies we are able to offer breast cancer patients at a time when they need assurance that they are receiving the best care available. This new precision technology enhances both patient care and comfort.”

AlignRT uses 3D camera units to monitor a patient’s skin surface in real-time and compare it to the ideal position with no loss in accuracy when compared to tattoos and marks. This technique is called Surface Guided Radiation Therapy (SGRT) and it ensures that radiation is delivered only when a patient is correctly positioned, enhancing their safety and comfort.

“I am fortunate my cancer was detected early,” said Denville resident Colleen O’Dell, a patient at Morristown’s Carol G. Simon Cancer Center. “But I have a pacemaker and I needed radiation to the left breast and that concerned me.”

Radiation can be a highly effective treatment for breast cancer, but the left breast is very close to the heart. This leaves the heart vulnerable to radiation exposure, which has been shown to sometimes lead to cardiac complications.

Atlantic Health System radiation oncologists use a technique called Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) to move the heart away from the breast during therapy. With the addition of AlignRT, breast cancer patients now have additional assurance that their hearts are protected.

“Dr. Karim assured me that she could safely provide radiation treatment while protecting my heart and pacemaker using the Align RT system and DIBH,” said Colleen. “The treatments were easy and painless.”

Atlantic Health System’s Hackettstown Medical Center also offers AlignRT tattoo-free breast radiation and will offer DIBH by the end of the year.

“At Morristown Medical Center and throughout Atlantic Health System, our priority is providing the highest quality breast care services in a safe and caring environment,” added Dr. Karim. “We have implemented vigorous health and safety standards to ensure the care you receive is evolving for today’s needs.”

To learn more, visit atlantichealth.org/cancer or call 973-971-5328.

About Atlantic Health System Cancer Care

Atlantic Health System Cancer Care offers an unparalleled network of cancer specialists and resources for more than 70,500 patients annually through its flagship Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown and Overlook medical centers, as well as its comprehensive oncology programs at Chilton, Hackettstown and Newton medical centers. With more than 250 cancer specialists and medical professionals, all five hospitals and Atlantic Medical Group have been recognized nationally for their role in advancing the fight against cancer.

Atlantic Health System Cancer Care is the lead affiliate of Atlantic Health Cancer Consortium (AHCC) – the only National Cancer Institute (NCI) Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) based in New Jersey.  Atlantic Health System is affiliated with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) of Phoenix, Arizona, and together they have created the Breakthrough Oncology Accelerator, a pioneering research and clinical collaboration designed to improve patient access to the most innovative and sophisticated therapies for cancer.

About Atlantic Health System

Atlantic Health System is at the forefront of medicine, setting standards for quality health care in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the New York metropolitan area. Powered by a workforce of more than 18,000 team members and 4,800 affiliated physicians dedicated to building healthier communities, Atlantic Health System serves more than half of the state of New Jersey including 11 counties and 4.9 million people. The not-for-profit system offers more than 400 sites of care, including seven hospitals: Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, NJ, Overlook Medical Center in Summit, NJ, Newton Medical Center in Newton NJ, Chilton Medical Center in Pompton Plains, NJ, Hackettstown Medical Center in Hackettstown, NJ, Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown, NJ, and Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute in Madison, NJ.

Atlantic Medical Group, comprised of 1,000 physicians and advanced practice providers, represents one of the largest multi-specialty practices in New Jersey and joins Atlantic Accountable Care Organization and Optimus Healthcare Partners as part of Atlantic Alliance, a Clinically Integrated Network of more than 2,500 health care providers throughout northern and central NJ.

Atlantic Health System provides care for the full continuum of health care needs through 16 urgent care centers, Atlantic Visiting Nurse and Atlantic Anywhere Virtual Visits. Facilitating the connection between these services on both land and air is the transportation fleet of Atlantic Mobile Health.

Atlantic Health System leads the Healthcare Transformation Consortium, a partnership of six regional hospitals and health systems dedicated to improving access and affordability and is a founding member of the PIER Consortium – Partners in Innovation, Education, and Research – a streamlined clinical trial system that will expand access to groundbreaking research across five health systems in the region.

Atlantic Health System has a medical school affiliation with Thomas Jefferson University and is home to the regional campus of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Morristown and Overlook Medical Centers and is the official health care partner of the New York Jets.

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