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What treatment methods are used in oncology?

Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery are three of the most common cancer treatment methods used in oncology. Biological therapy, gene therapy, bone marrow and stem cell transplants, cryosurgery, and laser treatments are also used. Treatments vary depending on the type of cancer involved.

For cancers that present as localized tumors, without any evidence of spread beyond he organ they originate in, they are either removed surgically or treated with radiotherapy.
If it is known that the risk of spread is high, even though the tumor appears localized, additional treatment is added that  reaches any tumor cells that are circulating in the blood. is is referred to as " adjuvant therapy" and is often either chemotherapy or immunotherapy, the use of drugs that kill cancer cells or the patient's own immune system to reject cancer cells. For tumors that are already widespread when they are found, combinations of drugs, called combination chemotherapy is the preferred method of treatment.

Current cancer treatment is supplied by a number of professionals in different disciplines: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and symptom management cancer experts. These "treatment modalities" show the best results when the efforts are coordinated. Accredited cancer programs provide the backbone and quality control for cancer centers in the USA. The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer accredits cancer centers and programs where more than 70% of Americans receive their care. The National Cancer Institute also designates certain centers across the country. These accreditations make sure that the best services are available and work together in patient-centered care, participate in clinical research, reviews new patients' situations prospectively to leverage the multi-disciplinary experience, and contribute anonymized data to their state's cancer control program or the National Cancer Database.

Symptom management experts provide services to maintain your health, help you cope with the experience, and put you on the road to recovery. They include Nurses, Nutritionists, Social Workers, Chaplains, Physical Therapists, genetic counselors, navigators and counselors with varied backgrounds.

The most up-to-date treatment programs incorporate aggressive symptom management and counseling right along with treatment, and do not wait until treatment is over to help you feel and function better.

Hematologists/oncologists use chemotherapy to treat all types of cancer.

In addition to chemotherapy, medical oncology treatments include the following:
  • Bone marrow transplant and stem cell therapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted molecular therapy
  • Vaccine therapy

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.