Medical oncology provides a specialized type of therapy for patients during their cancer treatment. The medical oncologist often cares for patients during the initial diagnosis, treatment and recovery phases. Medical oncology's treatment phase often focuses on chemotherapy, hormone therapy and/or immunotherapy.
Medical College of Wisconsin medical oncologists provide services at the Cancer Care Center.
Chemotherapy, a form of systemic treatment, refers to a large variety of anti-cancer drugs which destroy cancer cells and their ability to grow and form new cells. Chemotherapy may be used alone or in combination with surgery or radiation therapy. Depending on the type and stage of cancer, one or more different kinds of drugs may be used. The drugs are given orally, but more frequently by injection or intravenously. In most situations, you will receive your chemotherapy on an outpatient basis by trained and experienced oncology nurses.
The frequency and duration of chemotherapy treatment depends on several factors, including the type of drugs, your type of cancer and your general health at the time of treatment. In addition, you will have lab tests and visits with your doctor to evaluate or modify your treatment. Side effects from chemotherapy vary by patient and are almost always temporary.
The most common side effects are nausea and hair loss. Thanks to new drugs which greatly minimize side effects, many people are able to carry on with everyday activities throughout the course of treatment. Your doctors and nurses will help you manage any side effects from chemotherapy — whether physical or cosmetic. It is important to discuss your concerns with them.
Our Cancer Care Center is fully equipped with an infusion room in which patients can receive treatments in five comfortable recliners. There is space next to each recliner for family members or friends. The room is designed so patients and loved ones can converse with each other during treatment. However, should a patient prefer privacy, retractable curtains provide a semi-private room. In addition to the larger room, the Cancer Care Center provides two private infusion rooms.
Immunotherapy uses drugs to boost your body’s natural immune system. Used in conjunction with other treatments, immunotherapy works to stimulate your production of white blood cells and strengthens your ability to fight cancer. It also helps your body adjust to chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Your doctor will discuss the benefits of immunotherapy if it is recommended as part of your treatment.