CANCER CARE PARTNERSHIP is a partnership between Mount Nittany Health and Penn State Cancer Institute. CANCER CARE PARTNERSHIP provides state-of-the-art, personalized care for outpatient hematology, medical oncology and infusion services. Our patients benefit from the combined resources and expertise of Mount Nittany Health, the community's trusted healthcare provider, and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the region's leading academic health center.
Located in the Lance and Ellen Shaner Cancer Pavilion, patients benefit from a variety of resources including patient-focused exam rooms, chemotherapy suites, the Lady Lion Basketball Cancer Resource Center, and more. To learn about the Lance and Ellen Shaner Cancer Pavilion, please click here.
Malignant solid tumors may require chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery. A person may receive only one treatment or have a combination of the three. Malignant solid tumors are a group of cells that form a solid abnormal mass, which usually does not contain liquid in ways that a cyst would. This mass can invade into adjacent structures and has the ability to spread to other areas of the body.
Examples of malignant solid tumors include:
- Breast cancer
- Lung cancer
- Colon cancer
Chemotherapy is a class of drugs used to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is used for several purposes. Chemotherapy may be given before surgery or radiation to shrink the tumor so that other therapies will be more successful. It may also decrease the need for a larger surgery or radiation field.
Chemotherapy can also be used to control the growth of a tumor to decrease pain and relieve other symptoms the cancer may be causing.
Sometimes chemotherapy is used after surgery to ensure there are no microscopic cancer cells left. This helps to prevent the reoccurrence of cancer.
Immunotherapy is a class of drugs that help a person’s immune system assist in fighting cancer. These are substances that trigger the immune system to release chemicals that will attack the tumors. They could also come in the form of a vaccine. The vaccine works by causing the body to recognize cancer cells. The body notes that it is a foreign substance and attacks the tumor.
Targeted therapies were developed to attack cancer cells while causing little-to-no side effects on healthy cells. These agents target specific functions in the cell by going after specific pathways in or on the cell. Often, the pathways in cancer cells are different or absent in normal cells. Therefore, these agents will not affect the normal cells. These therapies are able to pass into the cell via the pathways and disrupt the ability of the cancer cell to function properly, causing it to die.
Pediatric oncology services includes the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of pediatric hematology disorders. We assist in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of childhood and adolescent malignancies and cancers. We also evaluate children and adolescents with lymphadenopathy, splenomegaly, petechiae or bruising, and persistent, unexplained fevers.
We also follow patients in a long-term survivor’s clinic after the cancer treatment has been completed.
Pediatric oncology patients treated at the CANCER CARE PARTNERSHIP clinic are eligible for support through the Four Diamonds Fund.
Hematology services include both benign and malignant hematology services.
Benign hematology disorders are not cancers of the blood. These disorders can affect the white blood cells that help fight infections, the red blood cells that transport oxygen, and the blood platelets that help your blood clot. Some of these disorders may require therapy, but others may only need observation over time.
Some hematology disorders may resolve completely with therapy and do not cause symptoms or affect life span.
Other hematology disorders are chronic and lifelong but do not affect life expectancy. Examples include:
- Anemia due to vitamin deficiencies
- Hemolytic anemia
- Thalassemia (mild)
- Hemophilia (mild)
- Von Willebrand disease
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) (mild)
- Hypercoagulable states
- Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)
More serious hematological disorders that can affect life expectancy include:
- Sickle cell
- Hemophilia (severe)
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Polycythemia vera
- Bleeding disorders
Malignant hematology refers to cancers of the blood and/or bone marrow. When cancer is present, bone marrow can become damaged or displaced by malignancies. This can lead to decreased production of blood, which can cause thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet counts), anemia (low red blood cell count) and leukopenia (low white blood cell count). These are sometimes referred to as liquid tumors. The majority of these malignancies will require treatment, but a few may be managed with medical observation.
Examples of hematological malignancies include:
- Leukemia (acute and chronic)
- Multiple myeloma
- Aplastic anemia
- Myeloproliferative neoplasms (myelofibrosis)
We offer infusion services for non-cancer treatments. Diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and others may require medications that are infused directly into a vein. Please contact us about these available services.
Palliative care is a type of specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care is provided by a specially trained team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support.
This type of care is appropriate at any age and at any stage of a serious illness. Palliative care is often provided alongside curative treatment. It focuses on symptoms, such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, and depression, among others. Palliative care also helps the patient gain the strength to carry on with daily life, and it improves the patient’s ability to tolerate medical treatments.
In addition, palliative care can help provide more control over any care by improving the understanding of ongoing therapy.
Meet Our Team
"When many of my patients walk through the door here their minds are full of fear and worry, but my job is to help them leave with optimism, and hope and, most importantly, a plan for a cure.” - Sean O'Donnell, MD
"I truly feel like this is where I'm supposed to be. So, I love my job.” - Lynn Whittaker, CRNP, AOCNP
- Local physicians help develop national treatment guidelines for pancreatic cancer - featuring Edward Balaban, DO, medical director, CANCER CARE PARTNERSHIP
- March is National Colon Cancer Awareness Month - written by Edward Balaban, DO, medical director, CANCER CARE PARTNERSHIP
- Town & Gown January 2016: After the Cancer - featuring Lynn Whittaker, CRNP, CANCER CARE PARTNERSHIP