Innovations in cancer care let patients receive care closer to home.

Cancer is a challenging journey, which is why some of the most exciting developments in recent years have sought to bring innovative treatments that were once only available in hospital settings to more comfortable environments, like your doctor’s office, an outpatient treatment center or even your own home.

“Not long ago, patients had to travel to a metropolitan hospital to receive treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which often required hours, if not days, away from home,” said Dr. John Ford, MD, Oncologist with Penn Highlands Oncology and Hematology at Penn Highlands Huntingdon. “Today, we are bringing more and more inpatient procedures into outpatient settings so that patients don’t have to travel far from their homes to receive the same quality of care.”

When you think of outpatient treatment centers, you may think of a chemotherapy infusion center, but today there are all sorts of outpatient treatment centers that provide much more than chemotherapy. Patients can receive radiation therapy, palliative care and even surgery in an outpatient setting.

New types of cancer treatments are also making it easier for patients to receive care closer to home. Innovative treatments like targeted therapies and immunotherapy can be delivered through noninvasive methods, such as pills and topical creams, which can be administered outside of a hospital.

Comprehensive cancer care also includes holistic services. Nutritional counseling, financial counseling, survivorship programs and family support groups play a key role in the quality of care, and patients can access all of these services in outpatient settings that do not require them to spend hours traveling to and from a hospital.

“Cancer not only affects our cells; it also affects our mental, emotional and spiritual health too,” said Dr. Ford. “Making treatment and other services as comfortable and convenient as possible has a real impact on patients, which is why these outpatient centers are such an important part of providing excellent cancer care.”

Penn Highlands Healthcare offers a wide range of outpatient cancer treatment and services at locations throughout the region. Penn Highlands also provides cancer screenings, including mammograms, colon cancer screening, prostate cancer testing and lung cancer screening to help patients detect cancer at its earliest stages when it is most treatable. To make an appointment or to learn more, visit