Medical oncology is the field of cancer treatment which deals with systemic administration of chemotherapy and targeted therapies such as immunotherapy. Our medical oncology specialists are highly trained and experienced in all forms of systemic cancer treatments.
Chemotherapy is cancer-fighting medicine that is delivered through an injection, oral pills, or skin application. Once chemotherapy is absorbed into the body it travels to the site of cancer to shrink or destroy it. It is highly important 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 a treatment plan which will provide the best possible outcome. Choosing the right chemotherapy and dosing it adequately the first time is key to success. It is also important to know and understand the side effects of chemotherapy to properly prepare the patient. In some cases, supportive medications to prevent complications are very important.
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New evidence shows the 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 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 cancers 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 from medical oncology professionals. One breakthrough is the discovery of drugs that 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 helps 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. One big advantage of immunotherapy is minimal side effects.