Allegheny Health Network's Butler Cancer Institute is sometimes called the “one-stop-shop” for cancer patients.
The integrated cancer treatment facility in the Pullman Business Park gives all cancer patients access to advanced therapy and support services.
Dr. Veronica Eisen, a radiation oncologist, said having such a location in Butler County is important, especially for breast cancer patients. It cuts down on travel time for women seeking vital care. It also helps many women get appointments more quickly.
“Having a center like this in Butler means that local women can get cutting-edge expert care,” Eisen said.
AHN-BCI opened six months ago. Judging by the number of patients Eisen sees, she believes the center is filling a local void with “convenient, compassionate and comprehensive care.”
“The response has been overwhelming,” Eisen said.
The AHN-BCI staff includes a nurse navigator, dietitian, financial adviser, social worker, pharmacist and doctors.
With the latest developments in radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and hormonal therapy, the center mainly serves Butler County residents.
“But also any and every patient that is in need of our services,” Eisen said.
Most patients are referred to the facility by doctors, surgeons and specialists. Family and friends also spread the word.
While she doesn't have the exact number of breast cancer patients helped in AHN-BCI's first six months, Eisen anticipates “hundreds of new patients” as the year progresses.
AHN-BCI, according to Eisen, is special in one particular way.
“From the moment that a patient walks through the doors of our center they immediately become part of our family,” Eisen said. “We pride ourselves in treating patients with great compassion and consideration.”
She feels there are common misconceptions associated with breast cancer, particularly that it's mostly a genetic illness.
“That there is nothing you can do to decrease your risk of developing breast cancer (is wrong),” Eisen said. “Or improve the chances of early diagnosis.”
Having a regular mammogram, she said, can go a long way toward prevention.
AHN-BCI helps women not only receive treatment, but navigate the post-diagnoses process.
For women facing breast cancer, Eisen has a special message.
The diagnosis doesn't get the last word.
Not every woman will need a mastectomy. Not every woman will need chemotherapy. But even if a woman needs both, caregivers and survivors are always there to help with the journey.
“There are large communities of cancer care providers like ours and breast cancer survivors that are on standby to support you every step,” Eisen said. “You are not alone.”