Medical oncology is the field of cancer treatment which deals with systemic administration of chemotherapy and targeted therapies such as immunotherapy. Our specialists are highly trained and experienced in all forms of systemic cancer treatments.
Chemotherapy is cancer-fighting medicine, which is delivered through an injection, oral pill, or skin application. Once chemotherapy is absorbed into the body, it travels to the site of the cancer to shrink or destroy it. It is crucial that chemotherapy is prescribed and delivered under the supervision of experts specializing in medical oncology. Based on the type of cancer and general condition of the patient, our specialists devise treatment plans which will provide the best possible outcome. Choosing the right chemotherapy and dosing it adequately the first time is key for success. It is also essential to know and understand the side effects of chemotherapy to prepare the patient properly. In some cases, supportive medications are vital to prevent complications.
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New evidence shows benefits of combining radiation therapy with targeted therapies and immunotherapies by helping activate the immune system. With recent advancements, it is becoming possible to identify biological abnormalities in patients which might be related to their cancer. Highly precise targeting of these abnormalities using biological therapies is changing the way we treat cancer.
These ‘targeted therapies’ are specific to the cancer and have less effect on normal tissues in the body causing less collateral damage. Our specialists, in collaboration with international laboratory facilities, will study your cancer specimen and blood samples to identify such targets. Finding the right targeted therapy might help the patient avoid toxic chemotherapy in some cases. There are targeted therapies available at Alabama Cancer Care for various types of cancer such as brain, head/neck, breast, prostate, lung, liver, colon and others.
The last decade has ushered in a lot of optimism in the treatment of cancer. One breakthrough is the discovery of drugs, which can help re-ignite a patient’s immune system to fight against cancer.
Cancer is known to release chemicals that mask one’s immune system to respond to cancer. Immunotherapy helps unmask these effects and restore one’s immune cells to identify and target cancer cells. Recent clinical trials have shown the survival benefit of immunotherapy for cancers of the head/neck, skin (melanoma), kidneys, urinary bladder, and lung. Significant advantage of immunotherapy is minimal side effects.