Your Tunnell Cancer Center care team will consider many factors to design a treatment plan specifically for you. It may include more than one type of treatment, depending on the type of cancer, its stage, your medical history, and the effectiveness of the initial treatment. Also, keep in mind that the goals of cancer treatment vary:
- Prolong life
- Reduce unwanted symptoms or effects of the cancer
- Improve quality of life
Surgery is a common method of treating certain kinds of cancer, and it is considered a local treatment in the sense that it focuses on a specific part of the body. The doctor operates to remove the tumor and nearby tissue that may or may not contain cancer cells.
Radiation therapy is the local treatment of cancer using high-energy X-rays or radioactive particles. Radiation therapy targets specific tumors with an exact amount of radiation. It is possible that some normal cells surrounding the tumor may receive some radiation but, unlike cancer cells, most of them recover from the effects of radiation.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. These drugs destroy cancer cells by stopping them from growing or multiplying. Healthy cells can be damaged, especially those that divide quickly. It is harm to healthy cells that causes side effects, but these cells usually repair themselves after chemotherapy.
A clinical trial, or protocol, is a carefully controlled study to answer specific questions about a potentially new type of treatment or to study new ways of using an existing treatment. The purpose of a clinical trial is to determine whether a treatment is safe in humans and effective in treating a particular disease or condition. This includes looking at the benefits as well as the potential risks of the treatment. Generally, clinical trials compare the standard treatment with a potential new treatment option. Your doctor can help you determine if a clinical trial is right for you.
Biologic Response Modifier (BMR) Therapy
Biologic response modifier (BMR) therapy is a treatment used to stimulate or restore the ability of the immune system to fight infection and disease, and to lessen side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments. BMR therapy is also called immunotherapy or biotherapy.
Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplants
Bone marrow and stem cell transplants are given mostly for cancers of the blood and lymph system (leukemia and lymphoma) and some solid tumors (breast and ovarian). If your doctor feels you are a candidate for a transplant, we will refer you to a treatment center.
Hormone therapy is used to block cancer cells from getting the hormones they need in order to grow. Your doctor will discuss this therapy if it is right for you.