Treating Cancer with Chemotherapy or Drug Therapy Near You in MA & RI
Drug therapy is used to help cancer patients in a variety of ways. The different types of therapies available work to destroy cancer cells, stop them from spreading, slow down their growth, or relieve the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment. At Southcoast Health, we are here to provide support every step of the way throughout your cancer journey in hopes to make it as smooth as possible.
What is Drug Therapy?
The goal of chemotherapy and other drug therapies depends on the type of cancer and its stage. Some patients may only need one type of treatment, while others may have a combination of treatments prescribed to them.
Types of Drug Therapies for Cancer Patients
Also called chemo, chemotherapy helps destroy cancer cells or make them less active. Because cancer cells multiply much quicker than most of the other types of cells in your body, chemotherapy uses powerful chemicals to target and kill fast-growing cells. This type of drug therapy can be used in a variety of ways. Examples include:
- Adjuvant chemotherapy, which destroys cancer cells that may be left after surgery or radiation therapy.
- Concomitant chemotherapy, which helps surgery or radiation therapy work better (when combined).
- Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy, which helps shrink tumors before surgery or radiation therapy.
- Relief of symptoms from tumors or cancer cells.
- Treatment for recurrent or metastatic cancers.
Hormonal Drug Therapy
Often used to treat breast and prostate cancer, hormonal drug therapy changes certain hormones to destroy cancer cells or slow down their growth. It is sometimes used to shrink a tumor before radiation therapy, so radiation can be administered to a smaller area.
Biological therapy involves the use of living organisms to help treat disease. It helps strengthen your immune system so it can destroy cancer cells and stop them from returning.
Targeted therapy changes the way cancer cells behave, in order to stop them from growing and spreading. This type of drug therapy works by targeting specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to the cancer’s growth and survival.
Supportive drugs help cancer patients manage the side effects that either cancer or their cancer treatment can cause. Depending on the type and severity of the cancer, supportive drugs can prevent, manage, or relieve these uncomfortable side effects.
What to Expect with Chemotherapy
Each type of drug therapy has its own unique process and side effects. Typically, for patients receiving chemotherapy, it will be administered 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 need to stay overnight. Others may require an overnight hospital admission. IV treatment can last anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours.
Because chemotherapy can affect some fast-growing healthy cells, there are often side effects from this type of drug therapy.
How Drug Therapies are Administered
How a patient receives drug therapy is dependent on the type of cancer and which drugs are used. Drug therapies are most commonly given:
- Orally (by mouth), which includes pills, tablets, capsules, or liquids that you swallow.
- Intravenously (IV), which allows the drugs to drip slowly into your veins.
- By injection, which can be administered in your arm, leg, hip, stomach, or another part of the body.
Comprehensive Cancer Treatments in Massachusetts and Rhode Island
Our team at Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care is dedicated to providing thorough and compassionate care, no matter what type of cancer you are facing. We will determine the right drug therapy and course of treatment to meet your personal 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. Please contact us today to learn more about our services throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island or to schedule your appointment.