Medical Oncology involves the comprehensive care of patients with cancer from diagnosis through end of life. The medical oncologists collaborate with other specialty physicians (surgeons, radiation oncologists, urologists, etc.) to develop a treatment plan based on the patient's type of cancer, the extent of disease and the most effective treatments available. Major components of treatment include the use of medications including chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and biologics. Support drugs are also used to minimize treatment-related side effects, as well as symptoms due to the cancer itself.
Medical Oncology services are provided in collaboration with Harrington Physicians Inc. (HPI), a group on oncologists including Brian Pruitt, MD, Sue Nadesan, MD, Anita Ravipati, MD and Milan Patel, MD.
Chemotherapy is a general term meaning the use of drugs given to shrink or kill cancer cells. Some cancers are curable with chemotherapy and there are many new kinds of chemotherapy currently being developed that target cancer cells without affecting normal cells.
Biological therapy is based on the idea that the human immune system, which is designed to eliminate and destroy any foreign substance found inside the body, can play a role in destroying cancer cells. Biological therapy consists of treating the immune system with highly purified proteins that help activate the system or help do its job more effectively.
Certain cancers (breast, uterine, prostate and others) depend on hormones to grow. Hormonal therapy involves using medications to block hormones, leaving the cancer cells unable to grow. Hormonal therapy is not a treatment option for everyone. However, for those receiving this kind of treatment, it is often highly effective and has fewer side effects than most other forms of cancer therapy.