Thanks to advancements in research and technology, today’s cancer patients have more treatment options than ever before. That includes patients with advanced-stage cancers.
UPMC Hillman is one of the largest cancer networks in the country and is designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. UPMC Hillman now offers the latest advances in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment in central Pennsylvania.
“Time is a precious commodity for patients navigating cancer and cancer treatments,” says Sabrina Martyr, MD, medical oncologist and hematologist, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Central Pa. “By bringing the infusion center and medical oncology services to Hanover, our patients have access to UPMC Hillman’s great care and advanced treatment close to home.”
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Choosing and Preparing for Your Cancer Treatment
“Our immune systems recognize and kill infections. But some cancers can outsmart and hide from the immune system,” says Sabrina Martyr, MD, medical oncologist and hematologist, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Central Pa. “Immunotherapy boosts the immune system to identify those hiding cancer cells.”
Targeted therapy is another new option to fight cancer. It uses drugs to find — and stop — a specific genetic mutation, protein, or pathway that allows cancer cells to grow and spread.
Chemoimmunotherapy combines both chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs. For some cancers, better results happen when they are used together.
Preparing for Cancer Treatment
When a person is diagnosed with cancer, an independent review of the patient’s medical record is done to determine the best type of treatment. Additional studies or biopsies may be needed to stage the cancer. Staging can identify how far cancer has spread and help doctors and patients decide on the best course of treatment.
The medical team that treats a patient’s cancer also can include surgeons, surgical oncologists, and radiation oncologists.
Once the proposed care plan is approved by a patient’s insurance carrier, cancer treatments can begin. These can include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, chemoimmunotherapy, immunotherapy, or targeted therapy infusion. All are available to area residents through UPMC Hillman.
Dealing with the Challenges of Cancer
“The most important ingredient a patient brings to cancer treatment is hope. But it’s not always easy to keep hope alive when you are surrounded by fear, uncertainty, and anxiety,” Dr. Martyr says. “That is why it is important to openly communicate your concerns with your oncologist.”
It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when coping with cancer and its treatments, Dr. Martyr adds. She encourages patients to ask questions and enlist the support of a close friend or family member when seeing their doctor.
“Patients need to remember they are the most valuable member of the treatment team,” she says.
About UPMC Hanover Infusion Center
Patients needing chemoimmunotherapy or targeted therapy can complete all their treatment at the UPMC Hanover Infusion Center.
Many hematology services also are available, including:
- Blood transfusions.
- Iron infusions.
- B-12 injections.
- Bone marrow biopsies.
- Bone marrow stimulating drugs.
- Phlebotomy (bloodletting).
UPMC Hanover offers a 12-bed infusion center with reclining chairs or beds. Other comforts include blankets, pillows, personal televisions with cable service, wireless access, and complimentary snacks.
Select clinical trials, radiation oncology, and other cancer services are provided at nearby UPMC locations. Help with travel also may be available.
When you are facing cancer, you need the best care possible. 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, and New York, with more than 200 oncologists – making it easier for you to find world-class care close to home. Our internationally renowned research team is striving to find new advances in prevention, detection, and treatment. Most of all, we are here for you. Our patient-first approach aims to provide you and your loved ones the care and support you need. To find a provider near you, visit our website.