Clinical trials offer options, hope for cancer patients
WILKES-BARRE - When fighting cancer, it is important to have a full treatment arsenal at your disposal. For some, radiation, chemotherapy or surgery may be the solution, but for a segment of cancer patients, clinical trials can offer new treatment options that, more than anything else, provide hope during the battle against cancer.
"Many people think that clinical trials are only offered as a last resort effort and are typically only available in an urban setting, but this really isn't the case," said Heather Albertson, oncology clinical research manager, Geisinger Health System. "Clinical trials are treatments that have already passed rigorous testing, and at Geisinger we offer clinical trials for several different types of cancer. Most of the cancer trials we offer are funded by the National Cancer Institute and also offered at select medical centers across the country."
Geisinger Health System currently has 125 open trials for adults and 14 open trials for children. These include, but are not limited to, trials for leukemia, lymphoma, melanoma, sarcoma and breast, bladder, prostate, pancreatic, colon, renal and gynecological cancers.
In 2012, 84 patients were enrolled in clinical trials, including nearly 60 at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, 10 at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, 10 at Geisinger-Scenery Park in State College and five at the Geisinger Medical Center-Hazleton Cancer Center.
"It is important to note that clinical trials are not for everyone, but for those who qualify, cancer clinical trials provide access to cutting edge therapies that may not only help their cancer but lead to new standard treatments in the future," Albertson said. "Trials may include an investigation agent in addition to standard therapies already being used. It could also involve already approved therapies that are being tested in a different type of cancer to see if it is as effective or better than the standard therapy.
If you would like to see what clinical trials are available at Geisinger locations, visit Geisinger's "Find a study" application online at webapps.geisinger.org/findastudy/studies/ct.cfm. If you are interested in knowing if there is a clinical trial available for you or your family member, call 877-204-6081.
"It is important for people to understand that all standard therapies used today were once clinical trials," Albertson said. "Clinical trials are the key to fighting cancer and finding a cure. Participating in a clinical trial can give you an opportunity to not only possibly improve your own outcome but help substantiate new standard therapies for all future cancer patients."
Geisinger hospitals honored for organ, tissue donation efforts
DANVILLE - Geisinger Medical Center (GMC) and Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center (GWV) both recently earned the state Department of Health and Human Services' Medal of Honor for Organ Donation Hospital Award.
GWV and GMC were silver medal winners in the program that honors hospitals and organ procurement organizations that sustain national goals for organ and tissue donation.
A total of 404 hospitals and 38 organ procurement organizations were honored nationwide. GMC and GWV are two of 237 hospitals in the country to earn the silver medal and two of 17 in Pennsylvania.
To qualify for a silver medal, a facility must achieve a donation rate of 75 percent or greater of eligible donors and a donation rate of 10 percent or greater of eligible donors suffering cardiac death.
"The HHS silver medal is a great source of pride for our organization and the patients we serve because out of a traumatic situation, we are saving the lives of countless people down the road," said Dr. John Skiendzielewski, Geisinger Clinic emergency medicine service line director. "It is our hope that more and more people come to learn of the lives saved from organ donation and our facilities continue to serve as the facilitators of this process."
Laurel Home Health/Hospice now part of Susquehanna Health
As part of the former Laurel Health System's affiliation with Susquehanna Health, Laurel Home Health/Hospice in Wellsboro was renamed Susquehanna Health Home Care & Hospice on Feb. 1.
Staff from both home care and hospice organizations will remain the same. Types of services offered through both organizations also remain the same, but with additional services to be offered in Tioga County.
The additional services include palliative care and telehealth, a daily home monitoring equipment program for patients' homes that collects vital signs such as weight, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, heart rate and temperature.
The offices are at 1100 Grampian Blvd., Williamsport, and 24 Walnut St., Wellsboro. For more information, call 320-7690 or 723-0760.