Why It's Done
A medical oncologist often is the main health care provider that will treat your cancer. A medical oncologist also gives supportive care and may coordinate treatment given by other specialists. You oncologist and your cancer care team may determine and recommend the use of medicine to help battle your cancer. These include:
Chemotherapy is the term used to describe cancer-killing drugs and is used to cure cancer, shrink cancer, prevent cancer from spreading and also to relieve symptoms caused by the disease. Depending on your type of cancer, chemotherapy can be administered in different manners, including shots into muscles, under the skin, in an artery or vein, pills taken orally or a combination. The length of your chemotherapy treatment is carefully determined by your doctor.
Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that relies on the body's infection-fighting system (immune system). Through the use of substances made by the body or in a lab to help the immune system work harder or in a more targeted way to fight cancer. This helps your body get rid of cancer cells. Immunotherapy works by slowing the growth of cancer cells, preventing them from spreading, and boosting your immune system’s ability to fight off the cancer cells.
Hormone therapy uses a combination of drugs and treatments to lower the levels, or block the action, of estrogen and progesterone in females, aiding in slowing the growth of many breast cancers. Hormone therapy has been proven to reduce the likelihood of the cancer returning following surgery.
Targeted therapy uses drugs to stop cancer growth and spread. It does so with less harm to normal cells than other treatments. Targeted therapy drugs work in a few different ways, including turning off the process in cancer cells that cause them to grow, triggering cells to die on their own, and directly killing cancer cells.
How to Prepare
Your oncologist and team will guide your through the planning process, answer your questions and give you input on what to expect going forward. We encourage all our patients to ask questions. You can also ask a family member or friend to accompany you so that you have their support as well. You care plan is uniquely tailored to you and your goals.
What to Expect
Your oncologist will take the time to speak with you about the drugs you will receive and potential side effects of your treatment. It's not uncommon to feel fatigued following your treatment. We highly recommend resting the following day. It not only helps you, but gives your body a chance to respond to the treatment as well as begin its recovery.
The length of your treatment session is determined by your doctor after careful consideration of your unique case.