Bringing Cancer Treatment Home

Bringing Cancer Treatment Home

Bringing Cancer Treatment Home

Oral chemotherapy can make cancer treatment a little easier.

A cancer diagnosis is never convenient, and traveling to and from the hospital to receive intravenous chemotherapy treatments can be a real drain on patients’ time and morale. Now, for certain patients, KentuckyOne Health offers oral chemotherapy — a treatment option that frees patients from long sessions of infusion therapy.

“Like traditional chemotherapy, oral chemotherapy is used to destroy cancer cells, but it does so through a pill you can swallow,” said Scott Pierce, MD, hematologist and oncologist at KentuckyOne Health. “Oral chemotherapy is considered just as effective as the traditional version and has the benefit of allowing patients to undergo treatment at home.”

Cancer patients who opt for oral chemotherapy also don’t have to deal with being hooked up to an IV, which is a necessary measure for traditional chemotherapy that can cause discomfort or anxiety for patients.

No Magic Pill

 

The ability to undergo treatment from the comfort of one’s home has turned oral chemotherapy into a very popular option. However, this method of treatment isn’t without its drawbacks, including:

  • Strict instructions. The burden of remembering how and when to take oral chemotherapy falls squarely on the shoulders of the patient. Patients must also remember to avoid certain foods, drinks, vitamins and supplements when taking the medication.
  • Pricey pills. Oral chemotherapy can be expensive and isn’t always covered by insurance plans. Because of this, it’s important for people to check with their medical insurance before choosing this line of treatment.
  • Same old symptoms. The side effects of oral chemotherapy are comparable to those of traditional chemotherapy. Fatigue, weakness, nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, diarrhea, weight loss, hair loss, bleeding gums, skin changes, low blood count, loss of menstrual periods and compromised immune system are all possible.

“Oral chemotherapy may be used alone or in combination with radiation therapy, surgery or immunotherapy,” Dr. Pierce said. “Talk with your physician to see if oral chemotherapy might be an option for your type of cancer.”

Handle with Care

 

As with most prescription medications, it’s extremely important to follow your physician’s directions when embarking on an oral chemotherapy treatment program.

Certain oral chemotherapy drugs are hazardous. Follow your doctor’s instructions for handling hazardous medications with care, which may mean wearing safety gloves, storing pills in a certain location or packaging, and being extra cautious about the other medications or supplements you take, even if they come over-the-counter.

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Fall edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.

A Community Pillar

Flaget Memorial Hospital exterior

Flaget Memorial Hospital

Today, residents of Bardstown and surrounding communities can take advantage of quality, close-to-home services, such as cancer treatment, orthopedic and weight-loss surgeries, and maternity and primary care, at Flaget Memorial Hospital. Accessing care, however, wasn’t always so easy.

From Humble Beginnings

In the 1940s, the nearest hospital to Bardstown was in Louisville. People had to travel nearly an hour away from home for maternity care and general surgical services. To fulfill the unmet community need, local Bardstown leaders approached the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth congregation about opening a local hospital in Bardstown.

With the Sisters’ help, Flaget Memorial Hospital opened its doors in January 1951. The excitement was palpable – roughly 1,500 people attended the hospital’s open house. A few days later, on Jan. 7, the community celebrated the milestone birth of the first baby born at Flaget Memorial Hospital, Mary Flaget Cecil, who was named after the facility.

Within just a few months, the hospital had treated 352 patients, delivered more than 70 babies and performed more than 90 surgeries. As the population grew, so did the hospital. The 1980s saw the addition of a medical records wing and computed tomography equipment. In the 1990s, an orthopedic surgeon joined the team, and the hospital added a pain management clinic and skilled nursing unit.

Flaget Memorial Hospital moved to its current location on New Shepherdsville Road in June 2005. The 60-acre campus of the accredited, five-star community hospital features a serenity garden and a state-of-the-art cancer center in addition to existing service lines.

Looking to the future, growth will take center stage.

Plans are in place to expand the hospital’s outreach, medical team and capabilities. You can help us grow. Your generous donations to the Flaget Memorial Foundation allow us to focus on compassionate care – the mission of Flaget Memorial Hospital.