Medical Oncology is the use of medications, orally or through injection, to stop or slow the growth of cancer cells. Most medical therapy treatments affect the entire body, whereas radiation therapy is a more localized treatment.
There are several different types of medical therapy. The doctors at Susquehanna Health Cancer Center treat each patient differently to promote the successful outcome for their specific situation. Your doctor may even suggest a combination of medical therapies or additional radiation therapy as part of your unique treatment plan.
Types of Medical Therapy
Biological Response Modifiers and Immunotherapy
These medications boost or restore the body's natural defenses (immune system) to help fight cancer or to lessen side effects of cancer treatment. Most often they can stop or slow cancer growth. Many times these medications are given in addition to chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
This is a form of treatment that either decreases the level of hormones in the body, or increases them based on the type of cancer. For example, female hormones are given for prostate cancer to decrease the male hormones, which can cause the cancer to grow. Hormones may also be used in the treatment of breast cancer to change the way hormones work to keep the cancer from growing.
Chemotherapy may be taken by pill or it may be injected into a vein or muscle using a needle. Chemotherapy is called a systemic treatment because the medication enters the bloodstream, travels through the body and is able to kill the cancer cells throughout the body.
Learn more about chemotherapy.
Hematology Services for Patients with Blood Disorders
Our cancer specialists are also trained in diagnosing and treating blood disorders. Consultations and therapies are available for diseases such as anemia, thrombocytopenia, pancytopenia and other blood disorders.
Learn more about hematology.
The Cancer Center has a dedicated oncology pharmacy located adjacent to the treatment area. There is also a Retail Pharmacy just steps away from the Cancer Center. Located at 1201 Grampian Boulevard, Health Services Pharmacy has been in business more than 30 years and accepts most insurance plans. The pharmacy has diabetic, ostomy, urologic and masectomy supplies.
Some treatments require the patient's admission to the hospital. To accommodate our patients during therapy, the Oncology Unit at Williamsport Regional Medical Center employs chemotherapy-certified nurses to administer the therapy prescribed by the cancer specialist.