Chemotherapy targets and kills fast-growing cancer cells. Although it is one of the best treatments for fighting cancer, its side effects are often feared. The good news is chemotherapy has gotten significantly better in recent years and many side effects have been made more tolerable.

Unlike surgery and radiation, chemotherapy can be used as the primary or even solitary treatment for cancer. It is also often used after other treatments, such as surgery, to kill any cancer cells that might remain in the body, or to shrink a tumor so that treatments such as radiation and surgery are possible.

Customized Plans

At Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare, specialists in oncology and hematology customize a treatment plan based on the latest advances in chemotherapy as well as surgical and targeted radiation treatments. The chemotherapy plan may involve infusion, injection or oral administration of the formulation your providers recommend, so it will always be administered by a nursing specialist in oncology.

Your chemotherapy team chooses which drugs you will receive based on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer, your overall health, previous cancer treatments and your individual goals and preferences.

Non-Oncological Uses

Some chemotherapy drugs have proved useful in treating other conditions. For example, diseases that affect the bone marrow and blood cells may be treated with a bone marrow transplant, also known as a stem cell transplant. Additionally, lower doses of chemotherapy drugs can help control an overactive immune system in certain diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Advances in Chemotherapy

Traditional chemotherapy breaks up the DNA in fast-growing cells, affecting both cancer cells and healthy cells. More recent advances include Immunotherapy, which harnesses the body’s own immune system to fight the tumor cells, and targeted medicine, which targets specific markers unique to the tumor. 

Chemotherapy is a key strategy in the battle against cancer because it attacks cancer cells that can be detected but cannot be removed through surgery or radiation. Chemotherapy is now able to target tumors more precisely and ease chemo side effects.

Closer to Home

A diagnosis of cancer can be frightening. Because the specific course of chemotherapy you are recommended may vary in length and intensity, it is important to have a network of trusted caregivers in a familiar setting and nearby to the ones you love. With the Bourland Radiation Oncology Center, GVMH offers a complete cancer care program — only closer to home.