Medical oncologists specialize in diagnosing and treating cancer. When they see a new patient, they begin with diagnostics such as CT scans, biopsies and medical history. They prescribe medications—including oral pills, intravenous and injectable medicines—that treat cancer. Medical oncologists prescribe treatments such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
Medical oncologists are experts in many areas, including:
- Prescribing appropriate medications
- Monitoring organ function during treatments
- Managing side effect from treatments
Medical oncologists customize treatments to each patient’s needs and design a schedule that fits into the patient’s lifestyle. They select the best care based on their knowledge of biochemistry, molecular studies and genetic studies. They combine careful medication dosing with other treatments such as surgery and radiation to get the best results for their patients. Medical oncologists also follow their patients once they complete treatment for long-term, cancer-free health.
Many patients fear the uncomfortable side effects they’ve heard are part of cancer treatments. Medical oncologists strive to prescribe treatments that produce the maximum positive effects with the minimum negative effects. Advances in medicine have dramatically reduced cancer treatment side effects. Marin Cancer Care offers options like DigniCap® to offer some relief of the hair loss side effects that accompany chemotherapy.
Systemic Cancer Treatments
The following types of medications are known as systemic drugs because they circulate in the blood to kill or stop the growth of cancer cells. MCC offers all of the treatments below.
Oral, intravenous and injectable medications that kill cancer cells. The negative side effects associated with chemotherapy can be minimized and controlled.
Medications that enhance the body’s immune system to fight cancer. This new, rapidly changing field is currently limited to certain types of cancer, but medical research shows promise for expanding the field.
Oral, intravenous and injectable medications that change hormones to control cancer. The growth of certain breast and prostate cancers is triggered by hormones produced by the human body, so this type of treatment is effective for those types of cancers.
Oral, intravenous and injectable medications that interfere with molecules to prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading. This dynamic new treatment differs from chemotherapy because it does not harm healthy cells.