Medical Oncology: Chemotherapy & Other Treatments
Learn More About Cancer Chemotherapy: Chat with Us | Email Us
Chemotherapy & Other Advanced Medical Treatments for Cancer
Your medical oncologist may recommend chemotherapy and/or another cancer-fighting drug as a treatment for cancer. Below are general types of medication our medical oncologists regularly use.
With systemic chemotherapy, chemotherapy is given by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle. It travels through the bloodstream and is designed to reach cancer cells throughout the body. The chemotherapy can be given in smaller doses over a period of several days, rather than in a large, single dose. This is known as metronomic chemotherapy. Our hospital offers this unique chemotherapy delivery method as a treatment for many cancers. In comparison to traditional chemotherapy, metronomic chemotherapy may be easier to tolerate because the smaller doses of chemotherapy can reduce common chemotherapy side effects, notably nausea and vomiting.
Regional chemotherapy is delivered directly to a particular area of the body, such as the spinal column, an organ or a body cavity (e.g., the abdomen). It’s used to target cancer cells in specific areas. Regional chemotherapy treatments we offer include:
- Intra-Arterial Chemotherapy (for cancer that has spread to the liver)
- Chemoembolization (also for cancer that has spread to the liver)
- Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemoperfusion (for certain types of advanced gastrointestinal or gynecologic cancer that have spread to the surfaces of abdominal organs)
- Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (delivered to the abdomen for ovarian cancer)
- Intrathecal Chemotherapy (used to treat some types of lymphoma and leukemia; administered into the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord)
Some of the most promising developments in cancer treatment are emerging from the field of targeted therapy. With targeted drugs, we’re able to target and attack cancer cells, and stop the cells from growing, dividing and spreading. Whereas standard chemotherapy affects cells throughout the body—both cancerous and normal—targeted drugs seek out the cancer cells. Healthy cells are left relatively unharmed. As a result, patients who receive targeted therapy tend to experience less severe side effects.
Our medical oncologists use targeted therapy to treat some cancers, oftentimes in conjunction with chemotherapy or other cancer treatments. Monoclonal antibodies (e.g., Herceptin®, Avastin®), in addition to small-molecule inhibitors (e.g., Tarceva®, Gleevec®) are two types of targeted therapy we use to help fight cancer.
For certain types of cancer, such as breast or prostate cancer, hormones can fuel the disease and cause it to grow. Our medical oncologists employ hormone therapy to help prevent cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow. Oftentimes, we use a combination of hormone therapy and chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy to attack the disease on multiple fronts.