Cancer Treatment at Dorcy Cancer Center
Cancer treatment is highly specific, depending on the type of cancer that is found, the size of the cancer, where it has spread, other medical problems you may have and personal choices you make. Some treatments may require a hospital stay while others can be accomplished on an outpatient basis. In general, there are four standard types of treatment for cancer. Your physician may recommend only one type of treatment, or a combination of two or more treatments.
Most cancer treatments can be given in a clinic or physician's office. You may also receive treatment at the Cancer Center and leave the same day. For added convenience, the Cancer Center offers an Ambulatory Infusion Center, an outpatient center providing antibiotics, chemotherapy, transfusions and other related therapies that are administered by our experienced nurses.
When care in the hospital is indicated, the inpatient Cancer Care Unit has 16 private rooms. Each room has additional accommodations so that a family member can spend the night. The Cancer Care Unit is staffed by compassionate, qualified oncology nurses and support staff.
Surgery can be an important tool in the detection and treatment of cancer. Depending on the type of cancer you have, surgery may be recommended as a way to remove all or part of your tumor. Surgery may be used alone or in combination with other treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation to treat your cancer. Sometimes surgery is used to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life for individuals with cancer.
The Dorcy Cancer Center is certified by the American College of Surgeon's Commission on Cancer, a national credentialing organization for cancer programs. You may want to learn more about the role of the surgeon in cancer treatment.
Chemotherapy is the use of medications to kill cancer cells. The purpose of chemotherapy is to shrink a tumor. Some tumors may disappear completely and others will reduce in size so that symptoms caused by the tumor may subside. Newer types of chemotherapy are available, such as "targeted" molecular therapies. Biotherapies use proteins, such as monoclonal antibodies, to treat tumors. The occurrence and types of side effects are specific to individual medications. Chemotherapy is given in the vein most of the time, but some is given by mouth or by muscle injection.
Newer "supportive" medications have been developed and are used to control nausea and to combat fatigue and the potential for infection from lowered blood counts. All of your questions should be discussed with your medical oncologist, a physician who specializes in treating cancer with medications, before you begin treatment. Patient guides for certain treatments are available on the website for the American Society of Clinical Oncology. A more extensive site for patients and families to find information about cancer treatments is the ASCO-sponsored website People Living With Cancer.
Hormonal therapy is the use of hormones (natural or synthetic) that can affect the growth of cancers. Examples include Tamoxifen, anastrozole or letrozole for breast cancer and leuprolide for prostate cancer.
Radiation therapy focuses high-energy radiation directly on a tumor or in the area where a tumor was removed. It may be given internally or externally. You should review all of the risks and benefits associated with receiving radiation with your radiation oncologist, a physician who specialized in treating cancer with radiation.
The Dorcy Cancer Center is outfitted with a fully accessorized Varian Trilogy medical linear accelerator, the first of its kind in Colorado. The Trilogy accelerator is one of the most versatile machines in the world with the capability of offering all standard radiation therapies, as well as the most advanced treatments that make it possible to concentrate more dose on tumors while protecting surrounding healthy tissue.
Developing the appropriate cancer treatment for each individual patient takes an entire team of cancer care and support professionals. Tumor conferences held at St. Mary-Corwin are an opportunity for cancer specialists, primary care physicians, pathologists, radiologists and surgeons to contribute to the care and treatment of each patient. Weekly conferences allow physicians to talk with one another about diagnostic and treatment issues for each case, so that the managing physician can present treatment recommendations to patients