Medical oncology is part of the comprehensive care provided at NorthBay Cancer Center. Under the direction of Dr. James Long, a team of highly regarded specialists in the field of oncology bring leading edge drug treatments to Solano County cancer patients. Oncology-certified nurses and other clinical staff provide the highest level of care and are specially trained to administer chemotherapy. Social services and other support staff help patients manage not only physical, but also emotional and financial aspects of a cancer diagnosis.
What types of chemotherapy are available? What is chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is the use of medicines (or drugs) to treat disease. Cancer chemotherapy (usually just called "chemotherapy" or "chemo") refers to medicines used to treat cancer. Because chemotherapy medicines travel throughout the body through the bloodstream the whole body can be affected. That is why it is important to understand the side effects of chemotherapy.What are biotherapy and targeted therapies?
Biotherapy is a type of treatment that works with your immune system. It may also be called immunotherapy, biologic therapy, biological response modifier therapy, and BRM therapy. Biologic therapy can help fight cancer or help control side effects (how your body reacts to the drugs you are taking) from other cancer treatments like chemotherapy. It may boost or restore the ability of the immune system to fight cancer, infections, and other diseases. It is also used to lessen certain side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments. Agents used in biological therapy include monoclonal antibodies, growth factors, and vaccines. These agents may also have a direct anti-tumor effect.
Targeted therapies – Targeted cancer therapies use drugs that block the growth and spread of cancer. They interfere with specific molecules involved in carcinogenesis (the process by which normal cells become cancer cells) and tumor growth. Because scientists call these molecules “molecular targets,” these therapies are sometimes called “molecular-targeted drugs” or “molecularly targeted therapies”. By focusing on molecular and cellular changes that are specific to cancer, targeted cancer therapies may be more effective than other treatments and less harmful to normal cells.
There are more than 90 different chemotherapy drugs in use today and all cancers are NOT treated with the same drugs. The treatment you receive will be based on your particular cancer and the potential side effects. Treatment for cancer will often include more than one drug, called combination therapy. In this way, drugs with different actions and different side effects can be used at the same time or in sequence. This is believed to decrease the chance that the cancer will become resistant to the treatment.
You should discuss with your doctor all the different types of chemotherapy drugs that are available to you. Your doctor may also talk with you about a clinical trial - a promising new drug or combination of drugs that are being tested for their effectiveness against the type of cancer you have. Standard chemotherapy protocols and clinical trials are both available at the NorthBay Cancer Center.
The links below are excellent sources of information. The local American Cancer Society office, listed below, also offers a wealth of information.
The American Cancer Society1-800-ACS-2345Solano County Unit: 744 Empire Street, Suite 206 Fairfield, CA 94533www.cancer.org
American Cancer Society nutrition link
NorthBay Medical Center: 707-646-5000 NorthBay VacaValley Hospital 707-624-7000
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