The History of Caring Continues at Lancaster Cancer Center
Jul 28, 2017 10:07AM
● By Gisele Rinaldi Siebold
Choosing Lancaster Cancer Center (LCC) means choosing a place where compassionate caring from the physicians and staff embraces each patient like they are part of a family. And part of a family they are, relates Lori Gerhart, nurse manager, and Mary Lombardo, laboratory director, who explain that although patients are coming for cancer treatment, they actually look forward to coming for their regularly scheduled visits because of the calm, friendly and cozy atmosphere that has been purposefully created.
LCC is the longest-running independent, community-based oncology and hematology practice in Lancaster County, founded 38 years ago by Dr. H. Peter DeGreen II (Peter), Emeritus. A devoted medical oncologist, he found that treating the cancer as well as supporting the patient with education, and their well-being, provided the ultimate outcome in winning the battle.
The history of caring continues with Dr. Hyatt P. DeGreen III (Tracy). Tracy views taking the time needed to educate a patient and a patient’s loved ones as his life’s work, following in the footsteps of his father in providing what each patient deserves.
Dr. Lena Dumasia concurs with the dedication that Peter and Tracy demonstrate. She approaches the treatment process with the belief that each person has the power within them to battle cancer and emerge as a stronger person, and views her role as the physician to help each patient uncover that strength.
Cancer is actually not one disease, but many diseases, as there are more than 100 different types of cancer, where abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues, and can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems.
A challenge not only to the physical body, the diagnosis of cancer is also a challenge to the mind and spirit of patients and their loved ones. Patients and family members receive not only the most comprehensive medical care, but also emotional and spiritual support. In fact, treatment is greatly improved as the patient becomes an integral part of the healing process.
LCC offers care for people with a variety of cancers, as well as for patients with benign (noncancerous) blood disorders, such as anemia and aplastic anemia and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and people with coagulation and thrombotic disorders. A full range of standard and innovative treatments, including less toxic chemotherapy, are offered. Committed to finding new treatments and helping to improve patient outcomes, the medical staff is involved in a number of clinical trials concerning hematological disorders.
Upon careful review, each physician recommends an integrated, individualized course of treatment based on diagnosis and other important factors, in order to provide the most effective oncology care. In addition, the physicians and staff can help patients become enrolled in promising clinical trials. The advent of complementary pharmaceuticals and skillfully administered procedures help to keep chemotherapy-related side effects to a minimum. Friends and families are welcome in the open, pleasant treatment area at all times.
“Cancer is no longer viewed as a death sentence,” says Gerhart. “Patients are reassured not only by the camaraderie they experience with other patients, but by witnessing their survival.”
The skilled, dedicated nursing staff provides exceptional attention, compassionate support and knowledgeable information to patients and their families. Several registered nurses are Oncology Certified. The nursing team participates in the Lancaster Red Rose Oncology Nursing Society Chapter, which enriches and supports educational opportunities for its members.
“For a nurse, it is a privilege to enter a person’s life at their most vulnerable time and be able to provide loving assistance and treatment,” shares Gerhart.
Recognizing the need to administer to the whole patient, LCC specializes in care beyond treatment. An array of support programs and other services are offered to help patients, families and friends cope with issues that often feel overwhelming. On-location services include a registered dietician, a licensed social worker, a physician-directed dispensary, a laboratory and clinical trials that are provided for the ease and convenience of the patients.
The physician-directed dispensary provides patients with the option to fill their oral medication prescriptions onsite, saving time and effort. The most commonly used medications associated with chemotherapy and hematology treatment are kept in stock. The staff can directly bill most insurance carriers and will work through any insurance problems quickly and efficiently.
The onsite laboratory is accredited by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Laboratories, Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments and the American Association of Bioanalysts. Staffed by licensed Medical Technologists with the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, the lab offers a large test menu of studies––performed in-house for LCC patients as well as outside patients––taking as little as a few minutes or completion by the end of the same day. Studies not performed in house are directed to the appropriate hospital or reference laboratory for testing. State-of-the-art equipment is kept in excellent condition by daily maintenance and cleansing procedures, as mandated both by the manufacturers, as well as the Center’s licensing agencies.
Brittany Horst, on-site registered dietitian, provides medical nutrition therapy. She helps patients develop dietary strategies to prevent side effects from chemotherapy and supports patients after their treatment to reach and maintain healthy lifestyle goals. Horst also advises patients on which nutritional supplements should be incorporated into their health plan.
“All members of the staff work here because they choose to be here,” notes Lombardo. “Everyone views their position as more than just a job. Heart-centered care is provided by the entire staff, from our physicians to our office staff.”
The vision of LCC is to provide meticulous, uncompromising, medical oncology care, as well as integrative support services and educational programs to meet the needs of patients. As a component of this vision, The Healing Journey Foundation was established in 1994, to educate and empower cancer patients by giving them support along their journey, and serve as an advocate to help patients and the community. Donations enable the non-profit foundation to provide free services which help patients and their families cope with diagnosis and treatment, without cost to the public.
Since the birth of The Healing Journey Foundation, the programs, symposiums and family events have grown to great proportions, and are funded by contributions received from outside resources, grant money and donations. The foundation relies solely on volunteers willing to dedicate their time.
“We are truly patient advocates providing the best care and treatment possible, in a warm and kind environment that recognizes each patient as a human being, not just someone who has cancer,” reflects Tracy. “We are committed to honor those we have the privilege of serving in both body and spirit, and are proud to say that our history of caring continues.”
Lancaster Cancer Center is located in the Greenfield Corporate Center, 1858 Charter Ln., Ste. 202, in Lancaster. For more information, call 717-291-1313 or visit LancasterCancerCenter.com. Learn more about The Healing Journey Foundation at 717-396-8679, [email protected] or HealingJourneyFoundation.com. See ad page 24.
Gisele Rinaldi Siebold is a contributing writer to Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks edition. Connect with her at [email protected]