Bloomington / Normal, IL

Working with the community... for a healthier community.

Closer-to-Home Cancer Care


By Alexander Germanis


It has long been said there is no place like home. This sentiment is perhaps never truer than when one is ill and in need of care. Should one be afflicted with any one of the many strains of cancer, being far from home in order to obtain treatment can compound the misery a person might already be feeling.

That is why Mid-Illinois Hematology and Oncology Associates (MIHOA) are located where they are – to provide leading edge cancer treatment in a setting close to home, so their patients can spend less time commuting and more time getting better.


On the Journey

Calling Bloomington-Normal home from their beginnings in 1979, Mid-Illinois Hematology and Oncology have since embarked on a journey with every patient who has walked through their doors. Oncologist and hematologist Dr. Pramern Sriratana, along with his two associates, Dr. Hwan Jeong and Dr. John Migas, chose to begin their practice in a place where they could stay on the leading edge of cancer care while providing that care to those in Central Illinois who needed it.

“I look at cancer as a journey, of course one with a destination. The journey starts from the diagnosis,” shares Dr. Sriratana. “Each cancer patient is not the same. They’re a heterogenous group, so we have to identify the characteristic of each cancer so we can personalize the treatment according to what we found.”

The journey can take many avenues through pathology, special testing, and often a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment. Whether that journey treads through surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or target therapy, MIHOA endeavors to be there every step of the way.

Even in those cases where a patient needs help MIHOA cannot directly provide, Dr. Sriratana stresses they will provide the best care they can either locally or with the help of a tertiary center.

“The success story of cancer treatment comes from a careful follow-up with patients, listening to their symptoms, trying to capture any side effects or complications of cancer treatments, and treating them right away,” Dr. Sriratana adds. “That’s why being in the community and closer to home is an advantage. It’s hard to get treatment when you have to go far away.”

Even should the journey come to an undesirable end, MIHOA partners with OSF and Carle in order to provide the best possible support. Whether through simple transportation, finance, psychosocial support, palliative, or end of life care, Dr. Sriratana assures, “We work with the family through that.”


A Noticeable Spread

Working with families has never been more of a necessity since cancer rates among the younger members of the population have seemed to be on the increase.

“There are many kinds of cancer that we haven’t seen much before in those younger than 50,” Dr. Sriratana confirms, “such as pancreatic cancer, esophageal and gastric cancer, liver cancer, and head and neck cancer.”

Many of these earlier onset cancers are, according to the doctor, due to diet. Preservatives, sugary foods, sweetened beverages, and high salt have all driven up cancer rates. But diet is far from the only contributing factor. Sexually transmitted diseases such as hepatitis-C and HPV (human papillomavirus) increase one’s risk for head and neck cancer as well as liver cancer. “And environmental exposure and even many medications like immunosuppressive drugs can drive the cancer rates up for skin cancer, lymphoma, and leukemia,” adds the doctor.

“We also have more screening programs, like those for breast, lung, and cervical cancers,” Dr. Sriratana continues. “We can detect early from the screening itself. We identify risk factors and do the procedures according to that.”


Comprehensive Quality

Cancer is a journey no one wishes to take alone. The doctors understand that so well, they do not undertake the journey while isolating themselves from any others who can help. Working collaboratively with OSF and Carle, the doctors also engage in weekly cancer conferences.

“We have a group of attendees, including pathologists, radiation specialists, surgeons, and geneticists,” Dr. Sriratana says. “We plan together for what’s best for the patients. Our care is comprehensive. We follow the guidelines that keep us up to date through every step of the game.”

Providing such comprehensive care has earned MIHOA certification from the American Society of Clinical Oncology through the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI). While MIHOA was one of the mere six percent of oncology practices to initially earn QOPI certification, they continue to participate in the QOPI program and adhere to National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines.


Evolution of Care

Three or four decades ago, many diagnoses of cancer were tantamount to death sentences. But cancer research, diagnostics, treatment, and drugs have all progressed significantly in the last 10 to 15 years, according to the doctor.

“Not only do we have the many cancer drugs, but we also have target drugs that can be specific against the cancer on a molecular level,” Dr. Sriratana assures. “It’s getting better. We have more and more tests evolving. We can identify certain genomes that increase the risk of cancer. We’ve increased compliance screening for colon cancer through stool testing and things like Cologuard; and they’re pretty accurate, too.”

Detecting the cancers earlier also increase the chances of surviving them. Breast, colon, and cervical cancers can all be caught in the earlier stages thanks to better equipment and more frequent screening.

With those susceptible to cancers at younger ages, looking for genomic abnormalities in the family can aid in screening for more specific cancers. “We’re doing better at looking at the genes to detect early cancer,” says the doctor. “If you have Lynch syndrome” (the most common inherited colorectal cancer syndromes), “or many diseases in that category, or test positive for BRCA then the whole family will be tested, and we can do mammograms more often and at earlier stages.”

Although we can expect to see an increase in laboratory testing in the next decade, the doctor says oncologists like those at MIHOA continue to keep their ears to the ground, so to speak, staying abreast of anything new coming out.

Patients themselves are becoming far more proactive in the act of early detection as well. “Patients nowadays are on top of things,” Dr. Sriratana confirms. “They read, they study, they come in with a lot of information to discuss.”

Ultimately, no one can travel the cancer journey alone and when it comes to helping patients on that journey, Dr. Sriratana says there is a key factor in accepting that aid. “Trust is very important in order for us to provide adequate help,” says the doctor. “We work really hard to achieve that goal, so the patient gets the best treatment.”


New Home, Same Care

Anyone already familiar with MIHOA knows they have housed their clinic at the Community Cancer Center since 1999. With recent changes in ownership at their longtime home of 407 East Vernon Avenue, Dr. Sriratana and his associates want to continue to be able to use all service facilities available around the community to keep their patients’ best interests in mind while maintaining their high quality of care.

Although their new address (1606 Hunt Drive in Normal) may be different, it remains close to both hospitals and very much a part of the community it has always called home. With 11,000 square feet and ample parking, MIHOA will continue to operate in conjunction with both hospitals for diagnostics, therapeutics, and radiation. More importantly, Mid-Illinois Hematology and Oncology will continue to provide comprehensive, compassionate, personalized, cutting-edge care.

Just as important as the quality of their care, Dr. Sriratana reiterates, “Instead of you running around to Chicago or Mayo Clinic, we are here. We can provide quality care closer to home.” And there is no place like home.


Mid-Illinois Hematology and Oncology Associates is now located at

1606 Hunt Drive in Normal, Illinois. To make an appointment, please contact them by calling (309) 452-9701 or visit them on the web at