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Treating Cancer with Chemotherapy or Drug Therapy in the South Coast of MA

At Southcoast Health, we focus on treating the whole patient, which means that we provide support every step of the way on your cancer journey, offering treatment like chemotherapy, hormone therapy, biological and targeted therapies, radiation services and more. At the Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care, your care will be managed by an experienced team of board-certified oncology physicians, nurses certified in chemotherapy administration, specially trained pharmacists and support staff to make your journey as smooth as possible. In addition to the direct caregivers, you will also have access to our social workers, finance counselor, nutritionist, rehabilitation experts and navigators to help you every step of the way.

Types of Drug Therapy to Treat Cancer

Drug treatments for cancer such as chemotherapy, hormonal drug therapy, biological therapy and targeted therapy work in different ways to destroy cancer cells, stop them from spreading or slow down their growth.

  • Chemotherapy destroys cancer cells or makes them less active.
  • Hormonal drug therapy changes certain hormones in your body to destroy cancer cells or slow down how fast they grow.
  • Biological therapy helps make your body’s immune system stronger so it can destroy cancer cells and stop cancer from coming back.
  • Targeted therapy changes the way cancer cells behave. This stops them from growing and spreading.
  • Supportive drugs prevent, manage or relieve side effects that cancer or cancer treatments can cause.

The goal of chemotherapy and other drug therapies depend on the type of cancer and its stage. These therapies may cure some cancers, especially in early stages, and it can also help control symptoms and cancers that can’t be cured. You may need only one type of treatment or your doctor may prescribe a combination of different treatments.

Drug therapies can be given before or after surgery or radiation. Different treatments can also be given at the same time. For example, chemotherapy can be given at the same time as radiation therapy. Your doctor may use chemotherapy in the following ways:

  • Adjuvant chemotherapy — to destroy cancer cells that may be left after surgery or radiation therapy
  • Concomitant chemotherapy — together with surgery or radiation therapy to help them work better
  • Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy — to help shrink tumors before surgery or radiation therapy
  • Relief of symptoms, such as pain, from tumors or cancer cells
  • Treatment for recurrent or metastatic cancers

Your doctor will explain which treatments you will be getting and the goals of your treatment plan. The goals of your plan may be to:

  • Prevent the growth of cancer cells or slow down the start of cancer
  • Cure the cancer by destroying all cancer cells and reducing the chances that the cancer will come back.
  • Control the cancer by stopping it from spreading, slowing it down or destroying cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body.
  • Relieve the symptoms of cancer and help you feel more comfortable when curing the cancer is not possible.

How Drugs are Given

Different chemotherapy or drug treatments are given in different ways. How they are given depends on the type of cancer you have and which drugs are used.

They may be given:

  • By mouth (orally) — pills or tablets, capsules or liquids that you swallow
  • Intravenously (IV) — drugs that drip slowly through a tube into your vein. Some patients may have a “port” put in to ease the use of veins. The port is used to give the intravenous drugs instead of a vein in your arm or hand.
  • By injection — a needle in a muscle in your arm, leg or hip or just under the skin in your arm, leg or stomach or other part of our body.

If your treatment plan includes two or more drugs, some may be given by injection and others by mouth.

What to Expect with Chemotherapy or Drug Therapies at Southcoast Health

Typically, you will receive chemotherapy at the Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care in Fairhaven or Fall River. Most people get IV treatments as an “outpatient” which means you don’t stay overnight. Others may require an overnight hospital admission. IV treatment can last from 15 minutes to several hours.

Our team at Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care can determine the right drug and chemotherapy treatments in Fall River and Fairhaven that meet your unique health needs. Patients with a new diagnosis of cancer can expect to receive an appointment with a Southcoast Health Oncology specialist within 24 to 48 hours. Our new patient coordinator can be reached at (508) 973-7813 to assist you in setting up this appointment.

At Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care, we provide all-encompassing cancer care, including chemotherapy, to patients in the Southcoast region of MA and RI.