KINGWOOD, W.Va. (WBOY) — Cancer patients in Preston County are catching a much-needed break when it comes to getting treatment as they now have the option to get care just a little bit closer to home.

Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital cut the ribbon on the expanded access to cancer care with the new Infusion Center on Wednesday, which looks to give patients an easier way to get treatment without having to go to all the way to Morgantown or elsewhere.

The expanded access to cancer care will include oncology doctors on-site starting off with every Wednesday. Up until Oct. 4., Preston County cancer patients had to travel at least an hour to Morgantown hospitals to get their chemotherapy.   

“There’s been studies done on the patients that have to travel or burden but travel like over 50 miles or an hour basically are they have more advanced disease at diagnosis they have inappropriate treatment worse prognosis and a worse quality of life. We’re literally improving the lives and the life expectancy of the patients in our community,” Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital CAO, Melissa Lockwood said.

“We did a pharmacy renovation and so we have a hazardous compounding room now in order to mix the infusions for patients and then we have four—we’ve taken two patient rooms and converted that into our infusion rooms at the hospital so we’re able to fit four patients at a time.”

In order to provide chemotherapy sessions, hospitals must be equipped with a hazardous compounding room due to the nature of the hazardous materials and 12 News was able to get special access to the restricted area.

There are multiple procedures that need to be followed by pharmacists and doctors in order to make sure the chemo concoction is tailored exactly to the patient and there is no cross-contamination.

In order for patients to get their chemotherapy at Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital they must contact the oncology doctors there and see what their needs are. and if chemotherapy is the path to go. Consecutive sessions can be done throughout any day of the week with the present trained infusions team.

Lockwood said they’re planning to keep expanding the cancer treatment and will have a wing dedicated to it in the future, expanding to upgrade to six available seats to treat patients.