Bringing radiation treatment closer to home, CTRC partners with Jourdanton Community Cancer Center

JOURDANTON (May 12, 2010) – Radiation treatment for cancer often involves brief daily sessions for weeks at a time, and until now, many South Texas cancer patients had to travel to San Antonio, the Texas-Mexico border or the Gulf Coast for radiation therapy.

Now, there’s a new option: About 95 percent of patients whose cancers respond to radiation can be treated at the Jourdanton Community Cancer Center, which recently entered into a service agreement with the Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

The Jourdanton Community Cancer Center is located in the Steinle Medical Office Building of the South Texas Regional Medical Center, 1901 Highway 97 East, Suite 110. That is 55 miles south of the CTRC, 150 miles west of Corpus Christi and 220 miles north of Harlingen.

A community open house for the new radiation therapy unit is scheduled for Tuesday, May 18, from 5 to 7 p.m.

“As a university that receives support from the state of Texas, we wanted to reach out and give something back to the people of South Texas,” said Chul Soo Ha, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the UT Health Science Center.

The service agreement began March 30. Within weeks, the Jourdanton center was providing radiation therapy to patients, some of whom acknowledged they had been diagnosed with cancer months ago but deferred treatment because of the distances they would have had to travel.

“If a person who lives in the rural areas of South Texas is diagnosed with cancer and needs radiation therapy, the clinic in Jourdanton will trim the travel distance for the patient and the family.” said CTRC radiation oncologist Gregory P. Swanson, M.D., who is also a clinical associate professor at the UT Health Science Center. “This outreach brings good cancer treatment closer to home for a large geographical area and likely will mean more patients will receive the care they need.”

Patients will receive treatment on the Jourdanton center’s Siemens Oncor Impression Linear Accelerator, equipment that provides external beam radiation therapy known as IMRT, IGRT and 3D conformal. According to the CTRC’s Dr. Ha, these technologies are capable of treating 95 percent of all cancers that can benefit from radiation.

Carrie Willis, radiation therapist at the Jourdanton Community Cancer Center and a former CTRC employee, said, “When you take our equipment and expertise and add to it the cadre of CTRC physicians, physicists and dosimetrists who create the patients’ treatment plans, we can offer the same high-quality care that patients would get by driving to the larger cities. We have excellent coordination between our staff and the CTRC to ensure quality.”

Those few patients who cannot be treated in Jourdanton can seek care at the CTRC in San Antonio.

Patients can be evaluated by Dr. Swanson at the Jourdanton Community Cancer Center two days a week, currently Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Radiation therapy is offered Monday through Friday. To schedule an appointment, call (830) 769-3980.

The Cancer Therapy & Research Center at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is one of the nation’s leading academic research and treatment centers, serving more than 4.4 million people in the high-growth corridor of Central and South Texas including Austin, San Antonio, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley. CTRC is one of the elite cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center, and is one of the only three in Texas. A world leader in developing new drugs to treat cancer, the CTRC Institute for Drug Development is internationally recognized for conducting one of the largest oncology Phase I clinical drug programs in the world, and participates in the clinical and/or preclinical development of many of the cancer drugs approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. For more information, visit

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