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December 7, 2013 - 10:43am | 30°F
Treatments for Cancer
Cancer is a very complex disease that affects different organs in different ways. Each type of cancer must be treated differently, tailored to an individual patient's needs. Every cancer case is reviewed at Feist-Weiller Cancer Center's weekly Tumor Board, where specialists from surgical oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, radiology, pathology, nuclear medicine, nursing, genetic counselors, and social work discuss treatment plans to optimize the care of each patient.
Feist-Weiller Cancer Center treats cancer cases with a possible combination of medication, surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, bone marrow transplantation, immunotherapy, nuclear medicine, photophoresis, and clinical trial treatments. Treatment decisions rely upon the location and grade of the tumor, the stage of the disease, and patient health. State-of-the-art testing procedures and digital technology provide reliable and relevant information that Feist-Weiller Cancer Center physicians use to treat patients.
Non-hematological cancers may be cured when entirely removed by surgery. Surgery may remove only the tumor, or the entire organ where the cancer is located. A single cancer cell that remains in the organ, however, can recur, or grow into a new tumor. Also, cancers often metastasize, or spread to other places in the body before the patient undergoes surgery, making it impossible to remove all of the cancer cells. Modern cancer theory hypothesizes even small localized tumors possess metastatic potential.
Innovative approaches to radiation therapy used at Feist-Weiller Cancer Center can lead to an improved quality of life for patients and perhaps even longer survival. The radiation oncology program of the Radiation Therapy Center (RTC) at Louisiana Health Sciences Center Shreveport focuses on "what is best for the cancer patient."
Radiation therapy damages the genetic material of cells in the distinct area being treated, destroying the ability of those cells to grow and divide. Radiation damages both cancer cells and normal cells, but normal cells usually recover from the effects of radiation and function correctly. To limit the amount of damage to healthy tissue at any time, modern technology is geared to administer high doses of radiation directly to the tumor.
Radiation therapy can be used to treat most solid tumors, including cancers of the brain, breast, cervix, larynx, lung, pancreas, prostate, skin, stomach, uterus, or soft tissue sarcomas. Radiation also may be used to treat leukemia and lymphoma.
Chemotherapy uses chemical agents to restrict cancer cells from growing rapidly. Most forms of chemotherapy affect both cancer cells and healthy cells, but cancer cells are the only ones permanently damaged due their inability to repair DNA damage. Normal cells usually repair themselves after chemotherapy.
Patients may receive chemotherapy in one, or in a combination, of these four methods:
Chemotherapy is administered in repeated cycles, allowing the patient to rest and regain strength between cycles. Chemotherapy patients often experience some level of side effects, but scientists are making progress to help minimize this trend.
Bone Marrow Transplantation
Immunotherapy is a form of treatment in which a cancer patient's own immune system is manipulated to make it reject and destroy cancerous cells.
Photophoresis with UVADEX® (Therakos, Inc.) is another treatment modality for patients across Louisiana diagnosed with CTCL. Physicians who believe their patient may benefit from photophoresis call 318.675.5972.
Nuclear medicine allows scientists to generate very accurate, detailed information about patients' cancers for diagnosis and treatment. Radiation and radiopharmaceuticals are among the radioactive treatments used to treat patients at Feist-Weiller Cancer Center.
Patients who do not respond favorably to traditional treatments may be eligible for the newest experimental treatment programs available through ongoing clinical trials. Clinical trials are research studies that test new drugs, new techniques for surgery or radiation therapy, or new combinations of treatments. Positive results from clinical trials are not a guarantee. However, patients enrolled in the study may be among the first to benefit from innovative treatments.
Feist-Weiller Cancer Center • 1501 Kings Highway • Shreveport, LA 71103
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