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Geisinger plans Luzerne County expansion

The announcement of an expansion to the Henry Cancer Center came Friday morning.

PLAINS, Plains Township — Geisinger is investing $80 million to expand its cancer center in Luzerne County.

Officials made the announcement Friday morning.

The addition will be coming to the Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Cancer Center at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.

The announcement included renderings of the new building at that facility in Plains Township.

Officials in cancer treatment at Geisinger say they are disappointed when they hear that patients must travel outside our area for cancer treatment. Now, they plan to change that.

Officials with Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township have unveiled an $80 million project that will add more than 92,000 square feet to the hospital.

That includes expanding the Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Cancer Center.

"We know that it's still the number one, number two leading cause of death, depending on which community you're looking at, and we're able to bring world-class capabilities to combat that. I think there is not a whole lot more special than that," said Dr. Jaewon Ryu, Geisinger president and CEO.

Plans call for the Henry Cancer Center to add an infusion center, a radiation oncology area, and an 18-bed inpatient unit.

"The average length of stay in the hospital is usually several weeks when someone has a leukemia diagnosis, and it brings up common questions of who is letting out the dog and who is going to get the kids off the school bus, and by bringing this new inpatient unit to the northeast, it's going to make it that much easier for people and their loved ones to support them when they need care," said Dr. Rajiv Panikkar, Geisinger Cancer Institute

New technology available will also include access to CyberKnife -- targeted radiation that is currently only available in Philadelphia and New York.

"We do get messages of concern from people who feel like they do have to leave the area to get treatment, and it's always disappointing to me to think about the time, the commitment, and the investment that people need to make," Dr. Panikkar said.

Officials with Geisinger say construction on the expansion is slated to begin sometime this summer and it will connect the current cancer center with the rest of the hospital.

"It's one of the best things that can happen to the Wyoming Valley. I have traveled with someone in my family for cancer care and it's really difficult and having something this close where your family can stay at home while you're getting cancer care here, it's a gift to the valley and I am so proud to be a part of it," said Marjorie Marquart, a member of the Henry family.

Construction on the expansion is slated to begin this summer. Geisinger hopes to have it completed by September 2023.