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Oncology Services

At York Hospital, our outstanding team of physicians, clinical oncology pharmacists, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, nutritionists, and wound care experts work together to provide you and your family with today's best patient-focused care.

The wide scope of providers mirrors the varied impacts of cancer on a person’s health and well-being, as well as those of their family and loved ones. Our collaboration ensures that all your needs — medical, emotional, and psychosocial — are met with a personalized cancer care plan tailored to your needs.

Personal cancer care

Our team of board-certified oncology physicians works closely with your primary care provider. Additionally, based on the type of cancer being treated, a team of sub-specialty physicians involved in pathology; radiology; general, plastic, or orthopedic surgery; urology; otolaryngology; and gynecology supports your treatment and care as well.

We’ve also developed relationships with tertiary care centers from Boston to Portland. Our clinical affiliation with Mass General Brigham brings added expertise and connections — working with the Massachusetts General Cancer Center to offer our patients specialized services like gynecologic oncology, genetic testing, and thoracic surgery. Sharing common goals, we ensure that our patients have the best chance for the best outcome. We put patients and families front and center — always.

Treatments & services

We provide the same cutting-edge treatments and protocols you’d receive anywhere else — including larger academic institutions and tertiary care centers. Here, we’re able to give you personalized attention and care and get your treatment programs started quickly, with your family at your side.

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Cancer care services at York Hospital

Medical oncologists/hematologists are physicians who specialize in the care and treatment of cancer and blood disorders. Medical oncology is the treatment of cancer using medicine delivered both by IV and oral therapy. It also includes careful attention to related medical problems, as well as management of symptoms and side effects. Our medical oncology program encompasses several leading-edge therapies, including chemotherapy and targeted therapies.

Chemotherapy treatment uses anti-cancer drugs either administered intravenously or in pill form to destroy cancer cells. Our goal is to return you to your highest level of health by treating you with chemotherapy focused on the location and type of your cancer.

Your body’s natural defenses can fight your cancer. Immunotherapy is considered a modern breakthrough in the fight against cancer. Our cancer center is affiliated with Mass General Brigham, a leader in immunotherapy research pioneering the use of cancer immunotherapy as a growing form of treatment. These therapies use drugs to target specific genetic mutations that trigger cancer growth. This personalized approach hones in on the genetics of each patient’s individual cancer cells to create a treatment plan that is unique to you.

York Hospital is home to clinical research in both oncology and hematology. It is the hospital’s belief that patient should have access to clinical trials closer to home.

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You may have an increased risk of developing cancer or a particular medical syndrome based on your personal or family history. A certified genetic counselor will help you better understand your specific technical and genetic information and how it is relevant to you and your family.

Those eligible for genetic testing include individuals and/or families in which:

  • Cancer was diagnosed at an age earlier than usual.
  • Multiple biological relatives have been diagnosed with cancer.
  • Someone has been diagnosed with more than one primary cancer.
  • Family members have developed a rare or unusual cancer.
  • Individuals have been diagnosed with bilateral cancer of paired organs.

Genetic assessments may offer personalized information and referral for ongoing treatment, monitoring, and follow-up for hereditary cancers including:

  • Breast
  • Ovarian, uterine, and fallopian tube
  • Colon, rectal, pancreatic, and gastric
  • Kidney
  • Thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal
  • Melanoma

Counselors also offer testing and counseling for a number of syndromes, including the more common:

  • Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome (BRCA1/2)
  • Hereditary colon cancer syndrome (HNPCC/Lynch, FAP/Gardner’s, MYH)
  • Hereditary renal cell cancer/Von-Hippel-Lindau Disease (VHL)
  • Hereditary melanoma
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS)
  • Cowden syndrome (CS)
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN)

Get the best information to move forward with your health decisions. The Genetics Clinic is held on the fourth Thursday of each month at York Hospital Cancer Care in Kittery, 75 U.S. Route 1 Bypass, Kittery, Maine.  For more information about genetic counseling, please call (207) 351-3777.

We know it’s challenging to cope with a cancer diagnosis, and we are here to help. Our goal is to support you, your family, and your caregivers, in any way we can. That’s why we offer an array of support groups, services, and integrative therapies.

Our oncology social workers are here to counsel you and your family through all phases of cancer. We’ll work with you from the beginning to help cope with a cancer diagnosis, reduce stress, and access information to understand your diagnosis and treatment. We’re here to assist you in considering decisions about treatment options and make referrals to support groups, creative art programs, and wellness programs. Rely on us to also help you with advance directives and advance care planning.

For more information, please contact Susan Kelly Westman, LMSW, at (207) 351-3721.

While being treated for your cancer at York Hospital Oncology, take advantage of our many opportunities to focus on you.

Enjoy six free massages from our Wellness Center. Or try the ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture, which is believed to help restore the body’s balance of energy. Six free acupuncture sessions are available to our patients to alleviate pain caused by cancer and side effects of treatment, including nausea, fatigue, and dry mouth.

Also, while being treated in our clinics try the gentle work of Reiki, which can provide deep relaxation to calm you if you’re stressed and anxious. You may also find it helpful with pain management, sleep problems, and overall comfort.

For more information, please contact Susan Kelly Westman, LMSW, at (207) 351-3721.

Eating well is especially important during cancer treatment and recovery and to stay healthy.

Consult with our registered dietitian to optimize your nutrition before, during, and after cancer treatment.

We can help with preparing for your treatment, managing nutrition-related treatment side effects, and customizing nutrition plans. For more information, please call (207) 351-3721.

Exercise helps you make the transition from treatment and rehab to getting back to your life. Take advantage of our 16 free Living Well with Cancer Exercise Classes as well classes in Hatha Yoga, Nordic Walking, and Forest Therapy Walking.

For more information, consult with your treatment team at the York Hospital Oncology or contact Ellen Yost at

Our professional cancer rehabilitation team of physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists work together with your health care team to create a customized rehabilitation plan for you.

Our program is focused on improving the treatment side effects, helping you to stay as strong and independent as possible during treatment, and helping you regain the strength, function, and independence to do the daily activities most important to you.

Art classes are available to York Hospital Oncology patients that use the creative process as a springboard for their own personal, spiritual, and healing growth. The classes offered are many, varied, and free of charge. They include a silk scarf painting workshop; Memories, Moments & Meaning writer’s workshop; affirmation art classes; a Zentangle meditative drawing workshop; music therapy workshops; a dot mandala painting class; and our Meditative Watercolors program.

One-on-one art instruction is also available through our artist in residence while patients are in-clinic for treatment.  Some of the projects available are painting, drawing, and origami.

For more information, please contact Susan Kelly Westman, LMSW, at (207) 351-3721.

York Hospital is committed to providing quality health care regardless of one’s ability to pay and is pleased to offer several programs to help patients manage their medical bill.

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Understanding cancer

Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by excessive growth of cells. There are over 200 different types of cancer, and within each type are a number of subtypes. Within a given type of cancer the risk factors, clinical symptoms, treatment options, and expected course can vary substantially, which means cancer type alone provides little insight into how a cancer will behave. The fundamental element that cancers share is that they originate when a cell begins to make too many copies of itself, leading to excessive cell growth. It’s the excessive cell growth which gives rise to most of the symptoms that a cancer patient experiences and is the focus of most of the treatments used today.

Cancer is defined by the site of origin of the cell that begins to grow in excess. This can occur in any organ of the body including the blood and lymphatic system. The cancer type is the first of many categories used to define the disease, so that knowing the cancer type alone provides little additional information. Cancer type does not change as the regions of the body involved change, so that a lung cancer which has spread to bone is referred to as “lung cancer with bone metastases,” rather than bone cancer.

Cancer may be detected when symptoms or abnormalities, such as a lump or growth, are recognized by a patient or provider. Diagnostic imaging is often then used for visualization of abnormal masses using high-tech machines that create images, such as X-rays, computed tomography (CT), positron emission test (PET), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and combined PET/CT.

Detection or assumption of cancer is not the same as diagnosis. A cancer diagnosis begins with the confirmation of abnormal cell growth and typically requires analysis of cells under a microscope or other instrument which analyzes cells. The source of tissue chosen to make a cancer diagnosis will depend on the type of cancer suspected, as well as the site of the body suspected of harboring cancer.

A procedure designed to confirm a suspected cancer is referred to as a biopsy. Many biopsies are performed by surgeons, while others are performed by radiologists specially trained to use medical imaging, such as CT scan or MRI, to guide a biopsy. The material obtained from a biopsy is sent to a physician specially trained to identify diseases in the laboratory, known as a pathologist. A pathologist uses their knowledge of the normal appearance of cells to determine the site of origin of a cancer as well as additional information which may be obtained.

Once a pathologist confirms the cancer type, the next step is generally to determine the extent of cancer in the body, an important process referred to as cancer “staging.” During cancer staging additional information is gathered such as medical imaging and further testing, which may entail additional biopsies and procedures. Some patients find that cancer staging is a slower process than they anticipated, especially in light of the anxiety surrounding a new cancer diagnosis. Cancer staging must be performed meticulously, however, since it is one of the single most important determinants in the overall treatment plan.

Staging is performed in a number of different ways, and the methods used for a given patient depend not only on the type of cancer, but also the level of suspicion of additional body sites of involvement. Staging methods can vary from simple physical examinations to specialized procedures, some of which require medical imaging. There are established national guidelines to ensure consistency and accuracy of cancer staging, so that each cancer type has its own “rules” to guide staging. These guidelines are set forth by leading cancer organizations such as the American Joint Commission on Cancer (AJCC) and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). The providers on your cancer team at York Hospital will work together to ensure that your cancer is properly staged, in order to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.

Cancer care is a rapidly evolving field of medicine. Our medical oncology program encompasses several leading-edge therapies, including:

  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy treatment uses anti-cancer drugs either administered intravenously or in a pill form to destroy cancer cells.
  • Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy is the leading edge of cancer treatments and the focus of extensive and continuing cancer research.

These treatments are specifically designed to precisely identify and attack cancer cells while sparing damage to normal cells. Targeted therapy includes immunotherapy which uses your body’s natural defenses to fight your cancer. The therapies use drugs to target specific genetic mutations triggering cancer growth. This personalized approach hones in on the genetics of each individual’s cancer cells to create a treatment plan that is unique to you. Biological therapy is chosen for the treatment of many types of cancer. It uses your body’s immune system to kill cancer cells to prevent or slow tumor growth, thereby preventing the cancer’s spread.

Additional support and services

If you need help coping with diagnosis, treatment, and recovery from cancer, consider joining the York Hospital Living Well With Cancer Support Group. They meet the second Monday of the month from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. via Zoom. For more information, call (207) 351-3721.

You can also learn more about the services available to you at York Hospital below:

Education & resources

The following links contain additional sources of web-based information and education about diagnoses, treatment options, medications, and support.

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Oncology & Infusion Therapy of York Hospital

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Clinical Trials

At York Hospital, we believe patients should have access to clinical trials close to home, so we offer both oncology and hematology. Our hope is to improve the lives of cancer patients by enrolling them in clinical trials that would help to solve important, challenging, and neglected problems in cancer research and patient care.

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Treatments & Services

Cutting edge treatment next door. York Hospital provides the same treatments and protocols you would receive anywhere else–including larger academic institutions and tertiary care centers. Here, we are able to give you personalized attention and care and get your treatment programs started quickly–with your family at your side.

Learn more

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