Area Cancer Clinic Offers New Chemo

Area Cancer Clinic Offers New Chemo

A cancer clinic in our region now offers a newer type of treatment for ovarian cancer.
Some ovarian cancer patients now undergo two types of chemotherapy---the conventional form delivered intravenously, the other into the abdomen. That second  treatment used to be available only at larger hospitals, but now a clinic in our region is offering it.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 22,000  women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year and that 15,500 will die.

The scary diagnosis came as a shock to 57-year-old Ellen Holleran of State College.
She remembers, "when you hear that you just can't believe it. Really me? Is this happening to me?"

After her surgery, doctors recommended two kinds of chemo---the traditional IV and the  newer  intraperitoneal chemo called IP.
In IP,  chemo drugs are given through catheter, surgically implanted in the abdomen.

To her surprise, Ellen couldn't find anyone locally who offered IP.  She says, "when I looked around State College, you could get IV everywhere but you couldn't get IP. I  was going to have to go out of town, drive an hour and a half."

Then,  she learned about Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute in State College. Oncologist Dr. Jeffrey Allerton had worked with IP before, but it hadn't yet been done at the State College oncology center.

The local clinic was glad to accomodate Ellen.  Dr. Allerton says, "the team from Hershey which we are a part of, came down and trained the nurses in the mechanics of how to do this."
Dr. Allerton says IP is the standard of care for some stages of ovarian cancer, but most patients still get only IV treatment, since there's no evidence yet that it's useful in all patients.
He explains, "there are ongoing trials as we do for most everything that is considered somewhat new, is bring what works best for more advanced stages down to the earlier stages to see if we can also improve their overall survival."

Ellen hasn't had any major side-effects and says she gotten a good prognosis.  In her words, "I  feel great. I do. I can't wait to get back in shape,  go skiing."
Ellen's 15 week chemo regiment ends next week. Another patient has already signed up for the treatment. Dr. Allerton says he can foresee IP being used in the future for other cancers,  involving the abdomen.
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