Cancer Support Services
When you have cancer, in addition to feeling scared and alone, you may feel like you have more questions than answers about how everything works. That’s why Allegheny Health Network assigns a Navigation Team to each cancer patient to streamline to take eliminate the guesswork.
Allegheny Health Network offers the following additional services:
Most cancer is spontaneous, without any link to family history or genes. But in some cases, cancer is caused by an abnormal gene passed along from a parent. Because these genes are defective from birth, they have the potential to mutate early in life, triggering the development of cancer at younger-than-average ages.
For those who may be affected in this way, we offer specialized expertise in genetic testing and counseling. Our genetic counselors conduct in-depth interviews with you and provide options for preventive care, including lifestyle changes; more frequent screening examinations at earlier ages; prophylactic surgery to remove at-risk organs, such as breasts, ovaries, or colon; or medications to reduce the likelihood of developing breast cancer.
If you have any of the following, you might consider genetic testing for yourself:
- Cancer of any type in more than one of your immediate relatives (mother, father, sister, brother)
- Cancer in your family that is known to be linked to a single gene mutation (for instance, breast, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer)
- Family members who developed cancer at a young age
- Close relatives with rare cancers that are linked to hereditary cancer syndromes
- A physical finding that is linked to hereditary cancer (such as many colon polyps)
- A known genetic mutation in the family (from one or more family members who have already had genetic testing)
Talk with your family members about who has had cancer, where the cancer began in the body and what age the relative was when diagnosed. Also, complete a family history questionnaire and share it with a genetic counselor.
Contact our Cancer Genetics Program at 412.359.8064.
Cancer registries are crucial in determining best practice treatment guidelines. They are complex databases maintained by accredited cancer programs like those at the Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute. Our tumor registry collects demographic, diagnostic, treatment, and outcome data on all patients diagnosed with or treated for cancer throughout our system. This data is analyzed internally by members of the medical and administrative staffs and externally by researchers.
The registry electronically transmits cancer data to the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry and to the National Cancer Data Base for epidemiologic and research purposes. It also annually follows up on all registered patients and updates the database with current disease status, quality of life, recurrence information and any subsequent treatment the patient received during the year.
This follow-up process continues throughout each patient’s lifetime and is critical in determining trends. Our tumor registries are accredited by the American College of Surgeons/Commission on Cancer.
Diagnostic radiology and imaging
The expertise of our experienced radiologists combined with our state-of-the-art imaging systems allow us to give you a fast and accurate diagnosis. Our advanced technology and equipment provide extremely clear and precise images while ensuring your safety and health.
Electronic medical records for physicians and patients
We utilize electronic medical records to seamlessly provide you with comprehensive care that is efficient and accurate. These records are digital versions of a doctor’s paper chart and contain your medical and treatment histories. They help us to navigate your care from any point in the Allegheny Health Network that you receive services.
When a cure for our patients is no longer possible, we provide hospice care for those nearing the end of life. We have a nurturing, compassionate, and caring team of professionals who give comfort to terminally ill patients by minimizing their pain and creating a peaceful environment around them as they live their final days.
We also work closely with each patient’s family to offer caregiving support and emotional encouragement as they deal with the stress and sadness of losing their loved one.
Contact our Hospice Program at 1.800.381.8080.
Find out more about our Hospice locations and services.
We have nutritionists at each of our hospitals to help you develop dietary plans specifically suited for your situation and needs.
Palliative care and pain management
We have a multidisciplinary palliative care team that addresses the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of patients and families dealing with cancer. Unlike hospice – which is end-of-life care – palliative care aims to improve your quality of life as you battle the disease. We treat symptoms of cancer, such as pain and nausea, and also help you to cope mentally with having the disease.
We provide palliative care on both an inpatient and outpatient basis and can help families coordinate various support services for their loved ones.
Our team can help you with:
- Counseling in treatment choices and decisions
- Emotional and spiritual support
- Pain and symptom management
- Planning for post-hospital care at home or in an inpatient facility
- Patient and family counseling
Find out more about our Palliative care and services.
Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, our social workers help you with any of your questions while you are under our care and following treatment. They also provide information about community programs and services and support groups.
Cancer takes a toll on both you and your family. Spending time with others who have a shared or similar experience can help with feelings of depression, frustration, anxiety, and the struggle of coming to terms with a whole new way of life. It can also help you significantly in your road to recovery.
You can find this type of fellowship at many support groups throughout the area. These groups help to boost your spirits, validate your feelings, and encourage your determination to recover.