There are more than 200 different types of cancer, and it can develop almost anywhere in the body. The disease causes cells in a specific part of the body to reproduce and grow uncontrollably; these cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue and organs. Some types of cancer can begin in one part of the body before spreading to other areas, in a process known as metastasis.
There are several methods to diagnose and treat cancer. The type and location of cancer and how advanced or aggressive it is will determine the best course of treatment and the length of time necessary to treat the disease. For some, only one short treatment may be necessary, but a combination of treatments may be required for a majority of people. This may take months or years.
Once a diagnosis is confirmed, your cancer care team will work with you to develop an appropriate treatment plan and provide you with adequate information about what the treatment involves.
Surgery is often the first treatment to try for a majority of cancers, and many solid cancer tumors can be surgically removed. Surgery may be used to:
- Remove the entire cancer tumor, if it is contained in one area.
- Debulk a tumor, which involves removing some of a cancer tumor to allow other treatments to work successfully.
- Reduce cancer symptoms if a tumor is causing pain or pressure.
Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses powerful medications to stop cancer cells from reproducing and from growing and spreading in the body. Chemotherapy can be used to completely cure cancer, make other treatments more effective, reduce the risk of cancer returning, or mitigate symptoms of cancer.
Chemotherapy treatment can be done in many different ways, but intravenous (IV) and oral chemotherapy are the most common types. Intravenous chemotherapy is usually performed in the hospital, under close medical supervision. IV chemotherapy involves directly administering the drug into a large vein, usually in your hand or lower arm.
The duration and type of chemotherapy treatment will depend on factors such as:
- Overall health
- The type of cancer and how advanced the cancer is
- Whether chemotherapy is being used to cure cancer, control its growth, or ease its symptoms
- How well your body responds to the chemotherapy
You may receive chemotherapy treatment in cycles to allow your body to recover and build new healthy cells during rest periods. Cycles vary but may involve receiving chemotherapy daily for one week, followed by a three-week period of no chemotherapy.
Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink or slow tumor growth.
There are two main types of radiation therapy: external beam and internal radiation therapy. External beam radiation therapy carefully aims radiation directly at cancer and treats that specific part of the body. Internal radiation involves a source of radiation being put inside your body, which can either be solid (brachytherapy) or liquid (systemic).
The type of radiation therapy that your doctor will recommend hinges on the following factors:
- Type and size of the cancer
- Location of the tumor and how close it is to healthy tissue (that may be sensitive to radiation)
- Overall health, age, and medical history
Radiation therapy may be combined with surgery. It may be given:
- Before surgery- to shrink the size of your cancer so it can be more easily removed
- During surgery- so that radiation goes directly to the cancer without passing through your skin
- After surgery- to kill any remaining cancer cells and to help prevent the cancer from returning
There is a limit to the amount of radiation an area of the body can safely receive. Depending on how much radiation an area has been treated with, radiation therapy may no longer be applied on that particular area again.
Comprehensive Cancer Care in Wooster, Ohio
We understand that being diagnosed with cancer can be a downright distressing time for you and your loved ones. Our cancer care team at Wooster Community Hospital is committed to providing you with the most advanced, personalized service available.
We do provide telehealth services, which allow you to reach out to our cancer care team and ensure continuity of care—without you having to come to our facility. This is very important, especially at this time, when in-person appointments are not ideal, especially for those with preexisting medical conditions.
To find out more about our comprehensive cancer care, contact Wooster Community Hospital today at (330) 262-2800.