Chemotherapy

Advanced chemotherapy from world-class cancer doctors

In cancer care, chemotherapy involves using chemicals that have a specific toxic effect and that selectively destroy cancer cells. Shortened from “chemical therapy,” chemotherapy is the most common method for treating cancer, with more than half of all cancer patients being treated this way.

What is chemotherapy? How does it work?

Chemotherapy can involve the use of single anti-cancer drugs or a combination of different drugs. The anti-cancer drugs can be administered in a number of ways, including infusion into a vein, injection into a body cavity or delivered orally as pills. Unlike surgery or radiation therapy, chemotherapy drugs circulate in the blood to areas of the body where the cancer may have spread. In this way, chemotherapy can kill or eliminate cancer cells far from where the cancer originated.

Cancer cells have faulty DNA, a key reason why they replicate in an unregulated, abnormal fashion, clustering to the point of creating tumors. Because of this faulty DNA, cancer cells do not repair themselves and recover from harm as well as normal cells do. Chemotherapy treatment for cancer involves delivery of the anti-cancer medications in many sessions over time, with breaks to allow normal tissue cells time to recover. With multiple repetitions of drug delivery, cancer cells are destoyed and unable to replicate.

Reduce and manage chemotherapy side effects

Unfortunately, while normal cells are better able to repair and recover, they are still exposed to the effects of chemotherapy. This leads to side effects, which include:

  • Low counts of white and red blood cells

  • Low platelet counts

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Hair loss

  • Fatigue

 

The side effects associated with chemotherapy can be concerning. However, many of these side effects can be controlled or prevented, making chemotherapy treatment easier than it once was. Many cancer patients today are able to work, travel, engage in other normal activities, and enjoy full, productive lives while in chemotherapy treatment. The START Center’s medical oncologists are highly trained chemotherapy experts who develop individualized treatment plans designed for maximum anti-cancer effect and minimal side effects. We also help our patients to actively manage any side effects they do experience with medications and other therapies.

 

Making chemotherapy more effective and less burdensome

We are able to use genetic markers that help us determine which anti-cancer chemotherapy drugs are most likely to be effective for each individual in our care. By doing this, we can help you avoid chemotherapy treatments that are known to be less effective or ineffective for people with similar genetic markers. This reduces the chances of precious time being wasted on treatments that don’t work.

Also, as leaders in international cancer research through Phase I clinical trials, START Center oncologists have access to the very latest promising new anti-cancer medications — anti-cancer drugs not available at many of the most well-known major cancer centers.