Depending on a patient’s medical condition and unique situation, cancer diagnosis and treatment can be carried out in several different ways. Some of the most common diagnostic tools include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scanning, and digital mammography. Once cancer has been diagnosed, some of the most common treatments used include radiation therapy, surgery, or chemotherapy. Along with their oncologist, a patient will decide on an individualized plan of treatment to meet his or her own personal needs. The following is a brief overview of some of the most common cancer treatments and what a patient can normally expect from the therapy.
- Radiation therapy: It seems that with every new year comes more advances in cancer radiation treatments. Aimed at the selective destruction of cancer cells with specific energy waves, radiation therapy can be carried out in many different ways. Generally, once the specific location of the cancer has been found using medical imaging, the patient and physician will decide whether external radiation therapy, internal radiation (bracytherapy), or another form of radiotherapy, such as radiosurgery, should be used. After the treatment, the patient will schedule a follow-up visit with his or her radiation oncologist.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves the administration of specific drugs that target the fast-growing cells in the body. Cancer cells are characteristically rapid-growing, so chemo can be very effective in treating cancers that have metastasized (spread) to many parts of the body. Once chemo has been decided on as the best course of treatment, the oncologist will decide which combination of drugs will be most effective in treating the specific cancer type. The chemo can be administered orally, intravenously, topically, or as an injection.
- Surgery: Surgery can be performed as a curative method (to remove a cancerous tumor) or as a preventive method to prevent the possible development of cancer in a specific body structure. This method of cancer treatment can also play a role in the diagnosis and staging of cancer.
If you and your physician are considering radiation therapy as a part of your cancer treatment, consult with one of the board-certified experts at South Florida Radiation Oncology. Our team of compassionate physicians is dedicated to the effective treatment and prevention of this disease in our community and beyond. Contact our helpful staff at (888) 823-9162 to learn more about how we can help you through your treatment process.