A cancer diagnosis brings with it a lot of emotions for patients and their families, including fear, anger, and anxiety. UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, providing care and services at both UPMC Passavant campuses (UPMC Passavant—Cranberry and UPMC Passavant—McCandless), is here to help patients access the best possible care and treatment for their specific type of cancer.
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center experts provide comprehensive care at UPMC Passavant, so patients in the communities north of Pittsburgh can receive care closer to home. A team of UPMC medical, surgical, and radiation oncologists recently answered our questions on the topic.
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Does Cancer Treatment Closer to Home Impact Outcomes?
An important factor in cancer care is support. When care is provided close to home, a patient can rely on family and friends for rides to and from appointments and treatments, and for emotional support before, during, and after their care.
“There is a particular comfort level that comes with patients maintaining their treatment within their community,” says Kiran Mehta, MD, radiation oncologist at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.
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What Advanced Technologies are Available at UPMC Passavant?
A precise radiation therapy called stereotactic body radiation was recently implemented at UPMC Passavant. “A typical radiation course could be anywhere from three to six weeks, but stereotactic body radiation is delivered in just three to five treatments,” notes Dr. Mehta.
A wide range of surgical options are also available, such as minimally invasive procedures, including robotic surgeries that allow surgeons to remove tumors through small incisions. UPMC Passavant–McCandless was the first hospital in the Pittsburgh area to use the Monarch™ robotic bronchoscopy system — an innovative device that enables doctors to navigate deep inside the lungs for earlier, more precise detection of cancer.
“We have multiple tumor boards throughout the week depending on subspecialties and disease regions,” says Melanie Ongchin, MD, FACS, surgical oncologist at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “We discuss patients in a collaborative manner to determine which treatment, whether it be surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy — or all three — would benefit that patient the most.”
How Do I Participate in a Clinical Trial?
At UPMC Passavant alone, there are more than 100 clinical trials. If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, you’ll first discuss your condition with your cancer doctor. Next, our team will review your case and match you with available trials. If you’re eligible for the trial, your physician will connect you with our clinical trial coordinator to facilitate enrollment.
“I tell patients frequently, the most aggressive way you can treat your cancer malignancies is to try to get into a clinical trial, because all the advancements that we have now are based on clinical trials that came before them,” says Kiran Kumar Rajasenan, MD, medical oncologist at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center provides world-class cancer care, from diagnosis to treatment, to help you in your cancer battle. We are the only comprehensive cancer center in our region, as designated by the National Cancer Institute. We have more than 70 locations throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and Maryland, with more than 200 oncologists. Our internationally renowned research team is striving to find new advances in prevention, detection, and treatment.