Radiation Therapy Comes to the North Oregon Coast

CMH-OHSU Knight Cancer Collaborative Brings Comprehensive Cancer Care to Astoria

Inside the radiation therapy room with Radiation Oncologist Dr. Sahar Rosenbaum (right) and Medical Physicist Kyle Gallagher, PhD (center).

Inside the radiation therapy room with Radiation Oncologist Dr. Sahar Rosenbaum (right) and Medical Physicist Kyle Gallagher, PhD (center).

ASTORIA, Ore. – After more than seven years of preparation by Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH), the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, and the community of Astoria, Ore., the CMH-OHSU Knight Cancer Collaborative will open its doors to patients on Oct. 2, 2017.

The 19,600-square-foot facility expands existing medical oncology and chemotherapy treatment services, and brings much-needed radiation oncology and radiation therapy to the North Oregon Coast.

“This has been the biggest community-supported project I’ve seen in my career here at CMH. The fundraising efforts and community partnerships have been remarkable,” said Erik Thorsen, chief executive officer of CMH.

The project became a reality with the support of many people, including former Astoria Mayor Willis Van Dusen, Dr. Sonny Park, Dr. Bill Armington, Dr. Robert Raish, formerly of OHSU, and so many more. Cancer care at CMH has grown from a single room in the hospital to a full-service center.

“We found a great partner in OHSU. This program would not be here if we didn’t have their support,” Thorsen said. “There’s really no way that a hospital like CMH could recruit the kind of talent that we need without the partnership of OHSU and the name that they bring to recruit very high-quality physicians to our community.”

One of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s missions is to lower Oregon’s cancer death rate. The collaboration with CMH is the first of its kind for the Knight Cancer Institute and will raise the level of cancer care to levels once thought unattainable in a rural setting.

“We believe where you live shouldn’t dictate the care you receive, and this beautiful new center will provide patients access to the latest treatment technologies and approaches to care,” said Ann Raish, M.H.A., vice president of oncology services at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. “The expansion of this collaboration will better equip us to provide personalized care to patients across this region.”

Currently, CMH’s cancer treatment services benefit an estimated 300 patients per month. Local cancer patients who require radiation therapy travel at least an hour or more to receive treatment at centers in Washington and Oregon. A course of radiation therapy is generally administered for five consecutive days, and it can last up to eight weeks.

 “Our collaboration with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is a significant enhancement to the healthcare services available to our community,” Thorsen said. “We are working to bridge the divide of accessible healthcare services locally. Our growing partnership with OHSU aims to continue bringing medical advancements to the North Coast.”

CMH will host grand opening celebrations for the new CMH-OHSU Knight Cancer Collaborative Oct. 12-15, 2017. The public is invited to a community open house on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2 to 4 p.m., at 1905 Exchange St., Astoria, Ore.