AHN Adds Innovative Liver Cancer Treatment and Cancer Fitness Program to Range of Services Available in North Hills

North Hills residents can now get life-saving treatment for liver cancer at AHN Wexford Hospital in Pine instead of having to travel to Pittsburgh.

The health system is also expanding the role that exercise and nutrition can play in treating cancer patients and survivors with a new facility in the North Hills led by a physician with unique expertise.

Allegheny Health Network officials say providing better access to treatments for liver cancer is critical because it is often not detected until later stages.

Liver cancer cases are also nearly three times higher in men than in women, according to the American Cancer Society.

Although less common in the United States, liver cancer is also among the deadliest forms of cancer in the world, hospital officials said.

Since symptoms of liver cancer are often not present in the early stages of the disease, treatment can be difficult when it is eventually detected, as the tumors are often too large to be removed by traditional surgical means, according to the doctors.

Often, advanced-stage liver cancer does not respond to chemotherapy treatment, they say.

To combat these problems, minimally invasive radiation therapy that was used at the AHN University Cancer Institute at Allegheny General Hospital is offered at the AHN Cancer Institute at the hospital. of Wexford.

Known as Yttrium-90, or Y90, the process of “radioembolization” is a minimally invasive treatment that combines embolization and high-dose radiation therapy to target inoperable tumors in the liver, hospital officials say. .

Embolization is a procedure in which the substances are injected directly into an artery in the liver to block or reduce blood flow to a tumor, according to the American Cancer Society.

“Not only can Y90 radioembolization significantly prolong and improve the quality of life of liver cancer patients, but it represents a potential lifeline if curative surgery is made possible,” said Dr Andrew Klobuka, who recently performed the first Y90 procedure at AHN Wexford.

Klobuka is the chief radiologist at the AHN Liver Cancer Center of Excellence at Allegheny General Hospital on the North Side.

During treatment, the radioactive isotope yttrium-90 is delivered through catheters directly to tumors without affecting healthy parts of the body, hospital officials said.

The procedure is designed to slow the growth of tumors and increase the chances that a tumor can be surgically removed.

Liver cancer patients and family members who want more information about the Y90 therapy offered by AHN can call 412-442-2459. To schedule a cancer-related appointment at AHN or speak with a nurse about cancer diagnoses, treatments, and side effects, call the AHN Cancer Helpline at 412-NURSE-4-U or 412-687- 7348.

Treat the whole patient

AHN officials also announced the addition of Dr. Colin Champ, radiation oncologist who specializes in the role nutrition and fitness can play in improving the lives of cancer patients and survivors.

Champ will lead a unique exercise oncology program that aims to reduce the side effects of cancer treatments to improve patients’ quality of life and treatment outcomes, according to hospital officials.

The program is offered in a new 2,650 square foot health and fitness center located on the AGH Suburban campus in Bellevue.

Champ will also practice radiation oncology at AHN’s Wexford Health + Wellness Pavilion, located adjacent to AHN Hospital Wexford along the Perry Freeway.

“I am thrilled to join such an innovative and patient-centric oncology team at AHN, while having the opportunity to create a new exercise program for cancer survivors,” Champ said. “I’m passionate about healthy eating and exercise, and my goal is to give patients the tools they need to take charge of their own health, now and in the future.

“As clinicians and researchers, I believe we have only just scratched the surface of learning how physical fitness and good nutrition can positively impact the lives of our patients,” he said. -he declares.

Champ was previously an associate professor at the Duke Cancer Institute, where his research focused on the interactions between diet, exercise and metabolism.

The research also assessed whether strength training and other exercises helped improve overall health and cancer-specific outcomes in patients treated for breast cancer and lymphoma, hospital officials said.

Studies have found evidence that higher levels of physical activity are linked to a lower risk of several types of cancer, including cancers of the bladder, breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus , kidney and stomach, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Obesity has also been shown to be a risk factor for a number of types of cancer and can affect a patient’s quality of life and the likelihood of the cancer coming back, according to the NCI.

“Dr. Champ brings to the AHN Cancer Institute a unique combination of expertise in radiation oncology and knowledge of the interplay between fitness, nutrition and cancer,” said Dr. David L. Bartlett, who chairs the AHN Cancer Institute “His work aligns well with our philosophy of treating the patient as a whole, not just the disease.”

The fitness program at AGH Suburban will initially be open to a limited number of patients who have been referred by their doctor, hospital officials said.

Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Tony by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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