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Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) celebrates new radiation technology

March 12, 2019

Ribbon-cutting ceremony thanks donors

Last week, Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Radiation Oncology to dedicate the Halcyon system, the newest linear accelerator from industry leader Varian Medical Systems, considered to be the most “patient-friendly radiation treatment in the industry,” according to NCH Radiation Oncologist Stephen Nigh, M.D. NCH is the first hospital in Illinois and also the first in the Tri-State area to add the Halcyon system to its radiation oncology department.

“The Halcyon system is revolutionizing how we treat patients by enhancing and simplifying the entire radiation delivery process,” Dr. Nigh says. “We are thrilled to be able to offer this game-changing technology as we strive to provide exceptional cancer care close to home. Better, faster and highly accurate treatment is now the norm for patients who receive their care at NCH.”

The generosity of Shirley Fish of Arlington Heights, the George M. Eisenberg Foundation for Charities and many other caring community members helped to bring the technology to NCH. Shirley and representatives from the Eisenberg Foundation were on hand to cut the ribbon and celebrate alongside NCH management, board members, clinicians and other supporters whose contributions were pivotal.

Support from the community makes so much possible here at NCH,” says NCH Foundation Executive Director David Ungurean. “We are grateful for the many generous donors who enable us to bring leading-edge technologies like the Halcyon to the northwest suburbs. Shirley Fish and the George M. Eisenberg Foundation for Charities provided exceptional support for this project and we cannot thank them enough. They are truly making meaningful impact on the lives of thousands.”

Physicians and clinicians have been using the equipment since late November 2018. Medical Physicist Muqeem Qayyum, Ph.D., says the Halcyon System has been redesigned from the ground up.

“We wanted to be able to provide our patients with the best treatment options available,” says Qayyum, adding that the imaging technology has been optimized to improve quality and speed without compromise.

Scanning can be done within seconds, and patients receive faster, more effective treatment.

The $5 million system has been designed with the patient in mind. Instead of an enclosed structure which can be claustrophobic for some, the large donut-like design and bed is similar to a CT scanner, a familiar site to most patients. They lie down on a table, which moves in and out of the treatment area. The system currently is being used on patients with head and neck, lung and prostate cancers. NCH plans to expand and treat other forms of cancer with the system in the future.

NCH’s cancer program received the Commission on Cancer’s Outstanding Achievement Award for meeting rigorous standards and improving the quality of care for patients with cancer. It is a radiation oncology accredited facility by the American College of Radiology/American Society for Radiation Oncology. Read more at

For information on supporting NCH with a charitable gift, please visit or call 847-618-4260.