Oncology and hematology treatment options
PSCC physicians are multi-specialists, Board Certified in internal medicine, hematology and medical oncology. Hematology is the study and treatment of blood diseases. Oncology is the study and treatment of cancer. There are many different types of cancers and blood diseases and each may be treated differently. The following treatment innovations and options are often used to treat both cancer and diseases of the blood.
The majority of these treatments are available in both of our PSCC locations. Other more technical treatments are found in most surrounding Swedish Cancer Institute locations. Your PSCC doctor will always be sensitive to distance and proximity to your home and will advise you on the best choices to minimize travel for you and your family.
Chemotherapy uses cancer-fighting drugs to combat the disease. Just as with other approaches, chemotherapy may be used alone or in combination with radiation, surgery or other new innovations in cancer treatment. Biological response modifiers and modern anti-nausea medications allow most patient to avoid many of the toxicities and side effects experienced with chemotherapy just a decade ago. The side effects can vary depending on the chemotherapy regimen received, however our medical oncologists make it a priority to treat and minimize these side effects to the fullest extent possible. Throughout treatment, your healthcare team closely monitors your lab results and response to the chemotherapy.
There are many different kinds of chemotherapy and many different cancers, making every treatment plan highly individualized.
By using different medications to harness the body's immune system, immunotherapy actually helps the body fight cancer. Normally, our bodies produce many of these substances in small amounts. Supplied in larger amounts, they can enable the body's immune system to find and attack the cancer cells more effectively. These substances may also make the cancer cells more sensitive to attack and destruction by other cancer treatments.
Biological Response Modifiers
Sometimes used to help the body recover from the side effects of chemotherapy, biological response modifiers represent a major advance in modern cancer care. Some modifiers help the body produce blood cells needed for a normal and healthy level of function. They may also allow patients to receive higher doses of chemotherapy than would ordinarily be possible by stimulating the cells in the bone marrow to produce infection-fighting white blood cells faster. In other applications, biological response modifiers can protect the kidneys, heart and nervous system from damage by chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Biological response modifiers are often used with many other cancer therapies, including immununotherapy.
Some cancers are sensitive to naturally occurring hormones and if exposed, can actually cause a cancerous tumor to grow as a result. Hormone therapy is the process of blocking these hormones from stimulating growth in the cancer cells. It is most often used with chemotherapy or following surgery to stop the growth of any cancer cells still in the body.