John Muir Health physicians provide systemic treatments – chemotherapy, biologic therapy, or hormonal treatment – that can effectively treat cancer usually with little side effects.
New systemic treatments are constantly improving their ability to attack cancerous cells while sparing normal cells.
Gone are the days when administering chemotherapy often made the patient feel sicker than the cancer. Nowadays, systemic treatment is delivered on an outpatient basis, usually as a prescription drug taken orally or received at the doctor’s office through intravenous (IV) therapy.
Major Breakthroughs. Better Results.
In just the past five years, we have made significant strides in implementing new systemic treatments that manage cancer. Physicians might use systemic treatments in a number of different situations, depending on the type of cancer, its stage, and other factors related to your condition.
We might use them before a surgery to reduce the size of tumor, after surgery to eliminate any remnants of the cancer, and in combination with other treatment options, like radiation oncology.
The three most common forms of systemic treatments are:
Chemotherapy, which is the treatment of cancer with anticancer drugs, has evolved over the years. Today, many chemotherapy agents target cancer cells by interfering with their molecular structure, making the treatment more effective and less harmful to normal cells, while reducing the amount of unpleasant side effects.
Some of the more exciting recent advances have come in biotherapy, which stimulates some of the natural immunity defenses within the body to control the growth of cancer cells.
For certain types of breast, gynecological, and prostate cancers, hormonal treatment might be used to prevent hormones from stimulating the growth of cancer cells.
John Muir Health consistently participates in clinical trials of new systemic treatments to ensure our patients are constantly receiving the best options available for treating cancer.