The cancer center at Memorial Hospital offers a full range of cancer treatments and procedures including: chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, biological therapy and integrative medicine.
What Cancer Treatments Work For You?
Cancer is treated in several ways, depending on each person's medical condition and type of cancer. Physicians plan treatments based on several key factors, such as the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the person's age, health and lifestyle. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, it is important for you to know that you play an important role in the treatment process. Offering input, asking questions and expressing your concerns about treatment can help make treatment a better experience.
Below are brief explanations of cancer treatment methods:
Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to treat cancerous cells. Chemotherapy has been used for many years and is one of the most common treatments for cancer.
In most cases, chemotherapy works by interfering with the cancer cell's ability to grow or reproduce. Different groups of drugs work in different ways to fight cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be used alone for some types of cancer or in combination of chemotherapy drugs is used to fight a specific cancer you may have. Certain chemotherapy drugs may be be given to you in a specific order depending on the type of cancer it is being used to treat.
While chemotherapy can be quite effective in treating certain cancers, chemotherapy drugs reach all parts of the body, not just the cancer cells. Because of this, you may experience many side effects during treatment.
Being able to anticipate these side effects can help you and your caregivers prepare and, in some cases, prevent these symptoms from occurring.
Surgery is used in several ways to help cancer patients. It provides the best chance to stop many types of cancer, and it also plays a part in diagnosing, staging and supporting cancer treatment.
For instance, surgery is often the first step in determining if you have a cancer. A tumor or polyp may be surgically removed. A biopsy will then confirm whether you have cancer or not.
Surgery is also frequently used for breast cancer. A mastectomy is the surgical removal of one or more breasts. If you have breast cancer, it is likely that surgery will be used at some point.
» More about: Memorial Breast Surgery
Radiation therapy (also called therapeutic radiology or radiation oncology) uses special kinds of energy waves or particles to fight cancer. Like surgery, radiation therapy is used in several ways depending on the type and location of the cancer. Certain levels of radiation work to destroy cancer cells or prevent cells from growing or reproducing. This treatment may provide a cure for cancer, control the disease or help relieve its symptoms.
About TomoTherapy Hi-Art System
Our TomoTherapy Hi Art System is a radiation therapy technology that allows for the acquisition of a daily 3D image of cancer patients in their treatment position. With these images, our clinicians can see anatomy as it is, rather than as it is supposed to be.
This insight afforded by daily CT imaging helps us know that radiation reaches the tumor as planned, and that exposure to healthy tissue and organs is minimized along the way. In addition, these daily images can be used to monitor - and maintain - the prescribed treatment during each and every treatment session.
"Because of the precision and image guidance offered with TomoTherapy, small targets (such as lung tumors in medically inoperable patients or solitary lung or liver metastases) can be treated with ablative doses of radiation (high doses in 1-5 fractions) with successes not seen using conventional techniques." - Jane Ridings, M.D., radiation oncologist
Further enhancing the effectiveness of this approach is the system's unique treatment delivery pattern. Making good use of CT scanner design, Hi-Art delivers radiation from all angles around the patient (compared to only a few from conventional machines).
Just as more imaging projections in CT bring greater resolution to the image, more beam angles in radiation therapy allow for better conformality of the dose to a tumor.
These new capabilities give our clinicians more control in the development of precise treatment plans and more confidence in the accuracy of treatment delivery. In the end, however, it's what you gain that matters most ... truly personalized care that can render cancer a treatable disease.
TomoTherapy is effective for treating and re-treating:
- prostate cancer
- breast cancer
- head and neck cancer
- early stage lung cancer
TomoTherapy procedures take about 20 minutes and the treatment is painless.
Note: not everyone is a candidate for TomoTherapy radiation treatment. Consult with your doctor to determine if TomoTherapy is the right option for you.
Biological therapy is similar to chemotherapy in that they are both treatments that fight cancer. But while chemotherapy directly attacks cancer cells, biological therapy helps your immune system fight cancer and/or help control side effects from other cancer treatments.
Doctors are not sure how biological therapy helps your immune system fight cancer. But they think it may:
• Stop or slow the growth of cancer cells
• Make it easier for your immune system to destroy, or get rid of, cancer cells
• Keep cancer from spreading to other parts of your body
Integrative Medicine and Wellness
Integrative medicine and wellness is the melding of traditional medical care with the centuries old healing arts that include acupuncture and massage therapy. These therapies, alone or combined, can help decrease stress, strengthen the immune system, reduce pain and speed recovery. This holistic approach treats each patient for balance and wellness of the mind, body and spirit.
Most integrative medicine and wellness therapies are provided to patients at no cost.
» More about: Integrative Medicine and Wellness
Schedule an appointment
If you, or someone you love, has been diagnosed with cancer, or you think there is a high risk of cancer, schedule a consultation or find a cancer doctor by calling 719-365-5800.
Please note: a consultation may require a physician's referral. Contact your doctor for more information about the diagnosis or treatment of a medical condition.
» Go to: More contact information & other helpful resources
Nurse Advice Line
For questions about cancer or for a list of available community health classes, ask our nurses at HealthLink by calling 719-444-CARE (2273).
» Go to: Breast care (Mary Lou Beshears Breast Care Center)
» Go to: Integrative medicine & wellness
» Go to: Physical medicine & rehabilitation
Continue to learn more about our cancer center ...
» Go to: Step 4: Available Cancer Clinical Trials