Construction is underway at Ocean Medical Center in Brick on a cancer center expansion that will offer Jersey Shore patients care and treatment under one roof.

Southern Ocean Medical Center
Southern Ocean Medical Center, Townsquare Media News

The project is part of Meridian Health's $128 million investment to enhance cancer services in Ocean and Monmouth Counties and is expected to be completed in October.

Dr. Mark Krasna, Medical Director of Meridian Cancer Care, explained that when a patient with advanced cancer comes to the center, that patient will be seen at one visit by the medical, radiation, and surgical oncologist.

"That not only saves the patient the usual running around, but it saves them time," said Krasna. Instead of taking three to six weeks to see the different specialists, it's done during one visit.

"The key to that is we have a Nurse Navigator for each and every disease," Krasna said.

The Nurse Navigator also explains to cancer patients what's next in the journey and help them through it, backed by a support team that includes a social worker, a dietitian, a genetic counselor.

Patients will be treated with the most advanced technology, according to Krasna.

"We are putting in a brand new, what's called a True Beam Linear Accelerator. It's the newest radiation oncology machine that's available.

Krasna noted another important feature of the new facility is a an open area room with windows and lots of light for patients undergoing chemotherapy.

"I thinks it's a very soothing and calming environment for patients with cancer who are going to receive chemotherapy infusion, so that's really kind of the icing now on the cake," said Krasna.

He added, "We have the team, and we have the technology, and now we finally have really the best facility as possible."

Krasna pointed out how technology has evolved over time, and explained with the True Beam Linear Accelerator, patients are no longer "blasted" with X-Ray beams.

"We are now giving the patient a very, very narrow, what we call, a toned in beam, to a very small area around just the tumor itself, and the whole technology is really based the concept that you want to avoid damage to the normal structures.The new radiation oncology technology, the new True Beam Linear Accelerator, it really achieves that," said Krasna.

In addition, Krasa said three of the Linear Accelerators that they have also do Stereotactic Radiationsurgery, involving tiny beams of radiation that go from different directions also to attack just the tumor, according to Krasna.

He also noted, "Ocean Medical Center is one of the center's in the state doing robotic surgery. We do robotic prostate cancer surgery, we do robotic gyneocological cancer surgeries like ovarian tumors and uterine tumors." The hospital also recently added robotic lung cancer surgery and robotic esophageal cancer surgery.

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