Chemotherapy is a treatment for cancer that uses chemicals to stop cancer cells from growing. Chemotherapy is designed to kill cancer cells and can be administered through a vein, injected into a body cavity, or delivered orally in the form of a pill, depending on which drug is used. Your doctor will talk to you about the best route for the chemotherapy medication(s). Oral chemotherapy is any drug you are taking by mouth to treat your cancer. Oral chemo does not need to be injected into the body. Chemo taken by mouth is as strong as the other forms and works just as well.
External Beam Radiation Therapy
External Beam Radiation Therapy is one of the most commonly used forms of radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and stop them from spreading. External Beam Radiation Therapy uses a linear accelerator (a high-energy X-ray machine) to direct radiation to the tumor. Approximately two-thirds of all cancer patients will receive radiation treatment. Sometimes, it is the only kind of cancer treatment people need.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) is the most advanced form of External Beam Radiation Therapy. IMRT employs a powerful, advanced computer program that plans a precise dose of radiation in three dimensions based on individual tumor size, shape and location. IMRT allows for higher radiation doses than traditional methods of radiotherapy while sparing more of the surrounding healthy tissue.
Image-guided Radiation Therapy
Image-guided radiation therapy is conformal radiation treatment guided by imaging equipment, such as CT, ultrasound or stereoscopic X-rays, taken in the treatment room just before the patient is given the radiation treatment. IGRT allows radiation to be delivered to tumors with more precision than was traditionally possible. One of the challenges encountered when radiation is delivered to a tumor is that the tumor can move based on the patient’s day-to-day position on the treatment table (as well as from breathing). IGRT allows the physician to better deliver the radiation dose directly to the cancer by using a variety of automated and tracking systems.
High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy
High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy is a form of internal radiation therapy that precisely delivers radiation from the inside out, sparing surrounding healthy tissue and organs and potentially reducing the need for surgery. It can deliver a high dose of radiation over a short period of time.
MammoSite is a unique form of brachytherapy that uses a balloon catheter to deliver radiation internally-directly to the site of the tumor cavity in the breast, where the likelihood of recurrence is greatest. Until recently, the entire breast has been treated with radiation therapy following lumpectomy to ensure that no cancer cells are left behind. Now, MammoSite is used in appropriate cases to achieve the same results by treating only the surgical site.
For many cancers this may be a cure, especially for those that have not spread to other parts of the body. Most patients will have some sort of cancer surgery. The primary purpose of cancer surgery is to cure your cancer by physically removing all of it from your body. The surgeon usually does this by cutting into your body and removing the cancer along with some surrounding tissue to ensure that all of the cancer is removed. Your surgeon may also remove some lymph nodes in the area to determine if the cancer has spread. Certain surgeries such as for prostate and gynecologic cancers may be improved by using robotic equipment.
Biological therapyis a type of treatment that works with your immune system. It can help fight cancer or help control side effects from other cancer treatments like chemotherapy.
A monoclonal antibody is a laboratory-produced molecule that’s carefully engineered to attach to specific defects in your cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies mimic the antibodies your body naturally produces as part of your immune system’s response to germs, vaccines and other invaders.
Robot-Assisted Surgery with the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System is a computer-assisted tool that offers another way for physicians to perform surgery. It is designed to perform complex operations through incisions that are much smaller and less traumatic allowing surgeons to perform complex prostatectomies and hysterectomies as minimally invasive procedures.
Stereotactic Radiosurgery is non-invasive radiation therapy that offers patients new options and hope in the fight against cancer and other abnormalities of the brain and spine.
Unlike conventional cancer treatment methods, stereotactic radiosurgery is delivered from outside the body to destroy tumors or other targeted abnormalities without an incision, so you can avoid hospitalization, lengthy recovery periods, and many of the complications often associated with conventional surgery. Stereotactic Radiosurgery delivers a large and highly accurate dose of radiation to a tumor over one to five treatment sessions. Benefits include:
- Fast treatment with speed and precision, allowing them to return home the same day of treatment.
- Combination of a powerful linear accelerator, for treatment delivery, with advanced image guidance planning tools provides the radiation oncologist with detailed information about the precise location and shape of the tumor or lesion.
- Frameless radiosurgery offers a more patient-friendly alternative to traditional procedures that require immobilization with a head ring that attaches to the skull.