Phelps Hospital Opens $8.4M Cancer Imaging Suite

High-tech imaging offers patients cutting-edge cancer and neurologic care closer to home

On Wednesday, March 30, 2022 Phelps hospital had a ribbon cutting event to launch an $8.4 million cancer imaging suite. (Left to right: Dr. Anna Komorowski, medical director, hemotology/medical oncology Phelps Hospital; Eileen Egan, executive director, Phelps Hospital; Mary L. Melvin, donor and cancer survivor patient; Michael Glennon, assistant vice president, Phelps Hospital; Kevin Beiner, SVP, regional executive director, Northwell Health; and Dr. Anthony Febles, chief of radiology, Northwell Health.)
Photo credit: Northwell Health

Phelps Hospital has announced the opening of a new high-tech imaging suite equipped with a PET/CT scanner built by Siemens Healthineers. The $8.4 million, 3,746-square-foot space realizes the hospital’s commitment to provide patients of the Northwell Health Cancer Institute at Phelps Hospital everything they need – from diagnosis through treatment – under one roof.

The PET/CT suite includes several rooms designed to optimize patient comfort and safety – from private registration and scheduling stations to comfortable waiting areas, private patient rooms, a radiopharmaceutical hot lab, PET/CT scan room, among others. Up until now, Phelps patients in need of PET scans had to travel further and have long wait times.

“The PET/CT suite is one of the most exciting projects that I’ve gotten to work on in my career at Phelps,” said Eileen Egan, RN, Phelps’ executive director. “It’s the missing link in the circle of care for radiology patients, who can now eliminate unnecessary travel and get the services they need right in their own backyard. As we were designing this space, the most important concept for us was the patient experience — their privacy, safety and comfort.”

PET/CT imaging is the use of simultaneous PET and CT scans to create a singular advanced and comprehensive image. PET scans utilize radiopharmaceuticals (tracers) that are injected intravenously and absorbed into the body. The rate of metabolic breakdown of the tracers within the body reveals one’s cellular activity. Combined with CT imaging, this enables an accurate evaluation of organs and tissues, and early detection and diagnosis of diseases and/or other conditions.

“We opened the doors of the Northwell Health Cancer Institute at Phelps Hospital five years ago,” said Anna Komorowski, MD, Phelps’ medical director of hematology and medical oncology. “As our services continued to expand, we knew that this was a crucial step for us. PET/CT is a powerful diagnostic tool in oncology with multiple applications. It helps us detect cancer, identify where it resides in the body and which area is best to biopsy. We can also better understand the prognosis of the patient, assess the effectiveness of the treatment and determine if the cancer has returned.”

PET/CT scans are used for patients with lung cancer, breast cancer, melanoma, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, neuroendocrine tumors as well as certain pancreatic, colon and metastatic prostate cancers. They can also be extremely beneficial for the diagnosis and treatment of dementia and other cognitive disorders as well as for seizure and cardiac patients.

“While many people who’ve heard of PET/CT associate it with oncologic conditions, another very impactful use is for patients with cognitive disorders,” Anthony Febles, MD, chief of radiology at Phelps. “Having these capabilities here at Phelps is going to be instrumental in our geriatric practice. It’s often extremely difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of a patient’s dementia – PET/CT gives us an effective modality to do just that.”

The new suite was funded, in part, by capital investments from Northwell Health, New York State’s largest health system, as well as through philanthropic contributions. One of those generous supporters is Mary L. Melvin, a lung cancer survivor who was diagnosed and treated at Phelps.

“Phelps has something to fill every bill,” said Ms. Melvin. “One is inclined to think that only at a big city hospital do you get top-notch doctors. I would say, ‘You cannot beat Phelps.’ I can’t believe the care in a big city hospital could be any better than at Phelps. And here you get the love, attention and nurturing from the nurses and everyone. Phelps is a very special place in my eyes. Words cannot describe how blessed I feel – and I want to say, ‘Thank you’ by giving back.”

For more information, visit https://phelps.northwell.edu/cancer-institute.

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