Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that kills or limits the reproduction of cancer cells. It may be prescribed in an attempt to cure cancers, to control the spread of cancer when a cure is not possible, to decrease the size of tumors prior to surgical removal or to relieve pain or other symptoms caused by the cancer.
Chemotherapy may be administered by intravenous route, by injection or in pill form depending upon the type of cancer being treated. Some chemotherapy may be injected directly into the tumor under surgical or radiology guidance.
Some types of chemotherapy target certain antibodies specific to the cancer cells; these are called monoclonal antibodies. Additionally, there are specialized medications which stop the formation of blood vessels to the cancerous tissue. These block oxygen and nutrients from reaching the tumor causing it to die.
Another type of medication used to treat cancer is immunotherapy which stimulates the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. Certain cancers develop protective proteins that disguise the abnormal cells from our immune system. Immunotherapy exposes the tumor cells so that a healthy immune system can identify and attack the cancer.
Hormone therapy is the practice of stopping the production of certain hormones within the body that fuel the cancer cells. By doing this, the cancer cells cannot grow as they normally would. This treatment is commonly used with breast and prostate cancer.
- Tomotherapy - A versatile, efficient system enabling delivery of highly effective radiation therapy to a wide range of disease types. The Tomotherapy system utilizes daily imaging while enabling treatment delivery from 360 degrees around the patient allowing a precise dose delivery to the tumor while sparing normal tissue.
- Elekta Versa HD - Equipped with sophisticated conformal beam shaping technology and high dose rate mode delivery, the Versa HD is designed to provide the precision and speed necessary to deliver advanced stereotactic radiotherapy and stereotactic radiosurgery techniques that demand the maximum accuracy in tumor targeting and protection of critical structures.
Treatment Delivery Options:
- External Beam delivery - Delivers closely conformed beams of radiation to the tumor or tumor bed.
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) - Radiation therapy that allows tighter restriction of dose to normal tissue while allowing us to deliver a higher dose of radiation to the tumor or tumor bed.
- Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) - Precise image guided treatment fields involving the delivery of 1-5 high dose radiation treatments.
- Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) - A precise image guided, single dose of radiation that is delivered directly to the tumor.
- Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) - Imaging method used with daily treatment delivery to allow more precise positioning of the radiation beam.
- Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) - High dose of radiation that is given during surgery directly to the area where the cancer was removed allowing minimal damage to surrounding tissue.
- Radioisotope Therapy - Internal radiation therapy using a radioactive material that can be administered orally or injected into the body. The material travels through the blood reaching and killing tumor cells.
- High Dose Rate Brachytherapy (HDR) - Internal radiation therapy that delivers a high dose of radiation directly on or near the cancer by inserting a device into the body cavity near the tumor.
Treatment Side Effects
Nearly every type of treatment, whether it be medication or chemotherapy, will have side effects. These side effects are specific to the type of medication being administered and can be short or long term in duration. All side effects should be promptly reported to your healthcare team so that supportive measures can be initiated or potential adjustments made to your chemotherapy regimen.