Full Range of Treatment OptionsThe Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center offers a complete range of treatment options. No matter what your specific form of cancer, our physicians have the expertise and resources to provide you with the most effective treatment plan.
Treatment options for cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and interventional procedures. In many cases, physicians use two or more of these treatments in combination.
In addition, clinical trials are available for eligible patients. Your doctors will know about clinical trials and will recommend one for you if appropriate.
SurgerySurgical intervention is important not only for removing cancerous tumors, but also for diagnosing cancer through biopsy and reducing tumors that cannot be removed completely. Surgeons also treat the complications of cancer, perform palliative procedures to ease pain and restore cancer-damaged structures. For some patients, less invasive techniques can make surgery less traumatic and speed recovery. Learn more about the Medical College of Wisconsin Division of Surgical Oncology.
Medical TherapiesOur team of specialists has many sophisticated drug therapy options. We consider disease stage and type of disease, as well as biological and predictive factors (the distinctive characteristics of each patient’s disease) when planning the most effective treatment. Hormone therapy, immunotherapy and therapies that target specific cancer cells are considered. Depending on the patient, we may use single drugs or a combination of drugs. We may also use chemotherapy alone or in combination with radiation. We may use chemotherapy before surgery to reduce the size of a tumor and make surgery more effective, or after surgery to reduce the chance of recurrence.
And we use specialized tools that help predict whether chemotherapy will be of benefit. One example is a cancer gene assessment called Oncotype DX™ for women with early stage breast cancers. If Oncotype data show a woman’s recurrence risk is low, she may not need chemotherapy.
Most patients receive chemotherapy and other IV infused treatments in our Day Hospital. This area is staffed with nurses who are experts in administering chemotherapy and caring for cancer patients. Many of them have earned national certification in oncology nursing.
Interventional RadiologyInterventional radiologists are physicians who use minimally invasive techniques to treat diseases without surgery. Using an image-guided catheter, interventional radiologists deliver chemotherapy drugs or small radioactive spheres directly to the site of a cancerous tumor. They also use special needles to destroy tumors through heat or freezing. Interventional techniques are also effective for treating the side effects of cancer and for relieving pain.
Regional Cancer TherapyThe Regional Cancer Therapy Program offers a multi-faceted approach to fighting cancer. Regional therapy includes a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, hyperthermia (heat) and radiation to target advanced cancers.
The Most Advanced Technology The Froedtert & the Medical College Clinical Cancer Center gives patients access to world-leading technology for cancer care. The Clinical Cancer Center offers a full range of imaging and other technologies for detecting, diagnosing and treating cancer and monitoring treatment. In addition to traditional X-ray devices and versatile ultrasound technology, a range of other options are important in cancer therapy and follow up, including the following.
3T magnetic resonance imaging (3T MRI) scanners have twice the magnetic field strength of standard 1.5T MRI systems. The ultra-high magnetic field enables the scanner to produce very high-resolution images that are especially useful for planning brain surgeries and radiation treatment. Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin are among only a few medical centers in the nation with a large-bore 3T MRI scanner. The 3T MRI is a powerful diagnostic tool not only for patients with cancer, but for any patient who needs high-resolution scanning of nearly any part of the body..
Biologically guided radiation therapy (BGRT) uses advanced imaging and radiation systems to focus radiation treatment where it will be most effective. Certain newer imaging technologies can detect and locate important biological processes within tumors, such as the growth of new blood vessels and areas of new cell growth. Knowing the location of these key processes, physicians can employ newer, more accurate radiation technologies to deliver higher doses of radiation to key tumor targets.
CT Angiography is imaging technology that shows blood vessels within the body and can help determine which blood vessels are being affected by cancerous tumors.
Cryoablation is a minimally invasive technique that delivers intense cold to "freeze" cancerous tumors in the kidneys. The technique is especially useful for people who have recurrent tumors, but can’t tolerate additional radiation treatments, or traditional open surgery for removal of tumors.
The da Vinci® robotic surgical system’s magnification and 3-D visualization helps surgeons see bodily structures clearly and perform surgery precisely.
Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are effective treatments for painful compression fractures of the spine. In both procedures, a physician uses imaging guidance to position a needle within the vertebral bone; the fractured vertebra is then filled with an orthopaedic cement which hardens in several minutes. In kyphoplasty, a small balloon is first inflated within the bone to create a space for the cement. Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty can be used to help strengthen and repair bone structures that have been affected by spinal tumors or other cancers, thus relieving the patient’s pain and improving his or her quality of life. The same processes can also be used in the treatment of other bones.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) produces images of soft tissue structures. Newer technologies such as functional MRI (fMRI) allow physicians to map brain function near tumor targets.
Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a technology that allows the recording of weak magnetic fields generated as a result of electrical activity within the brain. MEG equips clinicians and researchers with a powerful new tool for studying normal and abnormal brain physiology, and represents a significant advance in the care of patients with neurological conditions, including brain tumors and epilepsy. A MEG examination is completely non-invasive and painless. MEG provides unique information about brain physiology that no other method (such as fMRI or EEG) can provide. MEG will benefit patients being evaluated for neurosurgical procedures by offering a non-invasive way of identifying abnormal areas to be removed by surgery, while also identifying important brain tissue that must be spared to preserve functions.
Microwave ablation is a promising treatment for inoperable liver tumors. Similar to radiofrequency ablation, microwave ablation is a minimally invasive, image-guided technique that uses heat generated by microwave energy to destroy tumors.
Multislice CT can be used to help determine whether a cancer has spread from its original location to other organs or structures within the body. Images produced with multislice CT are clear and precise. In addition, the technology allows radiologists to modify image data to help them quickly identify potential problems.
Photopheresis relieves symptoms caused by certain types of immune-system related disease, such as T-cell lymphoma.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) measures changes in cell function and metabolism, providing a sensitive tool for detecting many types of cancer. Combined CT/PET scanners integrate information about tumor function and position.
Prism™ technology is used for planning and delivering treatment and managing brain tumors.
Radiofrequency ablation, or RA, uses electrical frequency to conduct intense heat directly into a tumor. RA has been shown effective in treating kidney and liver cancers.
Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) is an innovative means of treating liver tumors. In cases where it is not possible to surgically remove the liver tumors, radioactive microspheres can be used to deliver targeted, internal radiation therapy directly to the tumor. This therapy is called Selective Internal Radiation Therapy, or SIRT. There are currently two types of SIRT yttrium-90 microspheres that have been FDA approved for treatment of liver tumors. Therasphere® uses glass beads to deliver yttrium-90 radiation and Sir Spheres® uses resin beads.
Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) uses a rotating gamma camera to produce cross-sectional images of body tissues. In cancer care, this technology is useful for producing images of tumors surrounded by normal tissue. SPECT is used for gathering information about cancers of the brain, spine, prostate and other organs.
The Clinical Cancer Center also offers a full range of advanced technologies for delivering radiation therapy. Linear accelerators provide physicians with a variety of therapeutic options. The TomoTherapy unit uses a unique spiral dose pattern to treat irregularly shaped tumors, tumors affected by breathing motion and tumors close to critical organs. Another option, the Gamma Knife, is capable of delivering focused radiation doses for treating smaller brain and spine tumors.
Froedtert & the Medical College are the primary test site for new CT imaging equipment developed by GE Healthcare. Thanks to this unique relationship, the Clinical Cancer Center is able to offer patients first-in-the-world access to many advanced diagnostic and therapeutic technologies.
On the Forefront of Research: Clinical Trials Available The Froedtert & the Medical College Clinical Cancer Center backs its commitment to the constant search for new and more effective cancer treatments by participating in significant clinical trials for new drugs, radiation therapies, interventional techniques, technologies and surgical procedures. More than 130 clinical trials are in process at the Clinical Cancer Center at any given time.
Our physicians are principal investigators in multi-institution trials in cooperation with the National Cancer Institute. They also work cooperatively with national groups such as the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, American College of Surgeons Oncology Group, the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, Gynecologic Oncology Group, Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network and others. We also perform research in cooperation with pharmaceutical companies. In addition, Medical College of Wisconsin scientists and physicians generate research that is completely unique to Froedtert & the Medical College.
The objective of conducting clinical trials is to improve the broad spectrum of cancer care, encompassing not only diagnosis and treatment, but prevention as well. These activities put the Clinical Cancer Center in a research leadership position that provides direct benefit in terms of new treatment options and improved quality of life for our cancer patients.
Author: Robert Fojut
Last Review Date: Dec. 7, 2010
Online Editor(s): Christopher Sadler