A mobile oncology radiation unit at Mayo Clinic Hospital in north Phoenix gave Harold Nolde an option in the treatment of prostate cancer.
Before this year, Nolde would have had to travel about 40 miles from his Peoria home to Mayo Clinic’s Scottsdale campus, at 134th Street and Shea Boulevard had he chosen to undergo the 42 sessions of radiation therapy.
"I definitely would not have taken radiation if this facility were not available to me, because of the mileage involved," Nolde said.
"In my case, the difference between (the Phoenix campus) and the Scottsdale clinic would be 1,500 miles over the course of my treatment," he said after finishing his final treatment at the facility on Wednesday morning.
The temporary 3,000-square-foot modular unit at Mayo’s northeast Phoenix campus, at 56th Street and Loop 101, houses one of three linear accelerators used in radiation therapy at Mayo Clinic’s two north East Valley locations, said Dr. Leonard Gunderson, chairman of radiation oncology at Mayo Clinic.
Linear accelerators produce electron beams that are directed at cancerous tissues.
Mayo Clinic offers a number of advanced treatments with the technology, and most are done on an outpatient basis.
The modular facility — the first of its kind in the country — allows the hospital to reach patients in the northwest and north Valley who might not have chosen Mayo Clinic, because these services were previously based at its Scottsdale campus, Gunderson said.
It also allows oncologists to serve patients at the Phoenix campus while the first phase of a 162,000-square-foot Hospital Based Specialty Clinic is being built.
Ground was broken on the clinic last spring; it is slated to open in early 2006.
The temporary building was assembled earlier this year and is now serving patients on a regular basis, Gunderson said.
"The sections that house the linear accelerator were brought here in 8-foot-by-40-foot sections by semi truck," he said.
"Cranes were used to put that together over a two-day period."
When the Hospital Based Specialty Clinic is completed, the modular building will be disassembled and removed, Gunderson said.