Penn Highlands Mon Valley Introduces New Cancer Therapies

A cancer diagnosis can be scary. While approximately 39.5% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes, the good news is that there are constantly new therapies and treatments available for many different types of cancer.

In Southwestern Pennsylvania, Penn Highlands Mon Valley offers advanced therapies and procedures at its Hahne Cancer Center. The Center’s surgical oncology program now offers innovative treatments for liver, pancreatic, bile duct and gastrointestinal tract cancers across all stages and types.

Zachary Senders, MD, a board-certified surgeon who offers highly specialized multidisciplinary surgical cancer care, recently performed the Whipple procedure, which is surgery to treat tumors and other conditions of the pancreas, small intestine and bile ducts. The procedure involves removing the head of the pancreas, the first part of the small intestine, the gallbladder and bile duct. The procedure takes three to eight hours with inpatient recovery from five to eight days.

”The patient recovered exceptionally well and began chemotherapy in our Infusion Center,” said Dr. Senders. “Several other patients are progressing through the pre-operative phase with surgeries planned in the coming months.”

Penn Highlands Mon Valley also expanded its surgical and interventional oncology services to treat liver and colon cancers, among others. The surgeries and procedures, which were previously only available at major academic centers, enable people to receive a high level of care close to home from medical professionals they know and trust.

“We are committed to offering the people in the communities we serve with the advanced oncology care they need here at home,” said Dr. Senders. “Patients no longer have to travel long distances to receive the most state-of-the-art therapies.”

Not only does the team at the Hahne Cancer Center provide advanced therapies, they are committed to ensuring that patients have positive experiences. The Center recently expanded its nurse navigator program to include both breast cancer and surgical oncology nurse navigators. The nurse navigators assist patients from their initial diagnosis through the end of their treatments. They provide education, as well as clinical and community resources. The navigators also monitor symptoms and provide psychological support.