Chemotherapy uses powerful drugs and metabolic agents to kill cancer cells, control their growth or relieve pain. Physicians on the medical staff can use chemotherapy in combination with other treatments, such as surgery or radiation therapy, to attempt to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be given in several different ways: intravenously (through a vein), by mouth or by an injection.
Chemotherapy differs from radiation therapy or surgery in that it is almost always used as a systemic treatment. This means the medicines travel throughout the whole body or system rather than being confined or localized to one area. This allows the medicine to reach cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body.
Radiation TherapyFrom intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) to high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy, Texas Health offers some of the most advanced procedures for radiation treatment. These include image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) and stereotactic-body radiation therapy (SBRT) and a linear accelerator (LINAC) which customizes high-energy X-rays to conform to a tumor’s shape and destroy cancer cells while sparing normal tissue. LINAC allows for the delivery of a very high dose of radiation to a small tumor over a short period of time (one-to-five visits). In addition to teletherapy services, Texas Health offers an extensive brachytherapy program, which is the administration of radiation with radioactive sources implanted within or near a patient’s body.
Surgery often plays a key role in diagnosing, staging (finding out how far the cancer may have spread) and treating cancer. Surgery can also be part of the process of restoring the body’s appearance and function or relieving certain side effects. At Texas Health, surgical oncologists on the medical staff perform procedures on a wide variety of tumor sites, including: breast, gynecological, lung, brain and central nervous system, urological, orthopedic, colon and rectal, and pancreatic.
Minimally invasive surgical techniques allow for enhanced surgical precision, offering patients a less-invasive procedure, the potential for shorter hospital stays, faster healing and quicker recovery.
In addition to performing complex surgical procedures, surgical oncologists also work with a multidisciplinary care team that includes medical oncology, radiation oncology, patient navigators, nutritionists, genetic counselors, rehabilitation services and psychosocial services to comprehensively care for our patients and designed to promote healing and best outcomes.
Other Treatment Options
A process that uses extreme cold to destroy or damage tissue.
A targeted treatment for liver tumors that delivers millions of tiny radioactive beads called SIR-Spheres microspheres directly to the tumors.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is used to destroy tumors and provide relief for symptoms, such as pain.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a medical treatment that increases the amount of oxygen in the patient's blood. While lying in a large, submarine-like chamber, patients receive an infusion of 100 percent oxygen as it is circulated to the chamber at pressure levels two to three times greater than normal. The high pressure causes the lungs and body tissues to absorb the oxygen in a shorter amount of time, in greater amounts, and the oxygen boost to the wound promotes healing.
Because it promotes blood flow and increases oxygen circulation, hyperbaric oxygen therapy also has proven to be effective in in treating decompression sickness from complications arising from prior radiation treatments. It is also currently indicated as an important adjunctive therapy for radiation tissue damage (soft tissue and osteoradionecrosis).
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