Cancer Treatment

Cancer treatments vary greatly by diagnosis and individual patient factors. Your treatment will be discussed and agreed on between you and your doctor. Below are common treatments for various cancers.

Prostate – There are many different types of treatment for prostate cancer, including radiation therapy, hormone therapy, radical prostatectomy, chemotherapy, cryotherapy and watchful waiting (which is based on the premise that some cancers advance so slowly that they may not cause any trouble in the patient’s lifetime and therefore may not require treatment). The type of treatment recommended by a physician depends on many of the patient’s factors, including:

  • The patient age and life expectancy
  • The patient’s other health issues
  • How advanced the cancer is
  • The odds of the treatment curing the cancer
  • The patient’s feelings on the various side effects associated with many treatments

A radical prostatectomy is a surgery to remove the prostate gland and nearby lymph nodes. It is used most often when the cancer has not spread past the prostate. A radical prostatectomy can be performed either laparoscopically with small puncture wounds or with an open incision.

Jewish Hospital offers the leading edge technology to perform radical prostatectomies—the da Vinci S robot. The da Vinci robot allows a specially-trained surgeon to remove the prostate gland and surrounding lymph nodes with a minimally invasive approach. What does this mean to the man facing the surgery? Robotic prostatectomy benefits include:

  • Increased retention of bladder control and erectile function
  • A shorter hospital stay and quicker return to normal daily activities than traditional “open” procedures
  • Less post-operative pain and medication
  • Smaller incisions and scarring
  • Less blood loss
  • Magnified view and visualization for the surgeon which helps the surgeon avoid damaging the delicate structures and nerves surrounding the prostate.

For more information regarding the da Vinci Surgical System and robotic prostatectomies, visit www.jhsmh.org/davincisurgery.

Lung – There are three types of treatment typically used to treat lung cancer. All of the treatments listed below are available at a JHSMH facility near you. To learn more, call (502) 587-4902.

  • Surgery – The thoracic surgeon specialists at JHSMH will assist you in determining the best type of surgery for your case.
    • Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery, often referred to as VATS, is performed using a small video camera that is introduced into the patient's chest via a scope. With the video camera, the surgeon is able to view the anatomy along with other surgical instruments that are introduced into the chest via small incisions or "ports." Traditional surgical approaches have utilized a single large incision (cut) that is placed between the patient's ribs. The ribs are then spread apart, allowing the surgeon to look directly into the patient's chest and perform surgery. These incisions are known as thoracotomies, and while very safe, are uncomfortable. By utilizing VATS, the larger incision can be avoided, decreasing the post-operative pain, decreasing the length of stay in the hospital after surgery and increasing the overall rate of recovery.
  • Chemotherapy - Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer medications, administered intravenously or orally, that seek out and shrink or kill the cancer cells.
  • Radiation Therapy - Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays (like x-rays) to shrink or kill cancer cells. The rays can be specifically directed at the part of the body where the cancer is located.

Most early developing lung cancer can be treated by surgery alone. In more advanced lung cancers, where the cancer has involved other areas of the body, radiation and chemotherapy are preferred. In some cases, surgery may be an option following initial treatment with chemotherapy or radiation to shrink the tumor.

Breast – Treatment of breast cancer depends on many patient factors. Some of the treatment options available include:

  • Surgery - Surgery is the most common treatment for early breast cancer. Depending on the stage of the cancer, there are different types of surgery available:
    • Lumpectomy - Removal of the just tumor and some surrounding tissues.
    • Total Mastectomy - Removal of the entire affected breast, but no lymph nodes or muscle.
    • Modified Radical Mastectomy - This procedure is often performed if the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. It involves the removal of the affected breast as well as some lymph nodes under the arm.
    • Radical Mastectomy - This surgery is often used if the cancer has spread to the wall of the chest. It includes the removal of the affected breast, lymph nodes, and the muscle under the breast.
  • Chemotherapy - Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer medications, administered intravenously or orally, that seek out and shrink or kill the cancer cells.
  • Radiation Therapy - Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays (like x-rays) to shrink or kill cancer cells. The rays can be specifically directed at the part of the body where the cancer is located.
  • Hormone Therapy - In the treatment of breast cancer, hormone therapy is often used to block the use of estrogen by the cancer cells, as some types of breast cancer rely on estrogen and/or progesterone to grow. These cells are referred to as “hormone receptor positive” cancer cells. If a tumor is not deemed “hormone receptor positive,” then hormone therapy is not usually effective and is not used.
  • Biological Therapy - Biological Therapy works in with the body’s own immune system to help destroy cancer cells or to assist in controlling side effects resulting from other cancer treatments.

Colon/GI: Once a gastrointestinal cancer is found and staged, the cancer care team will suggest one or more treatment plans. This is an important decision, so you should take time and think about all of your options.

The main factors in selecting treatment options for a gastrointestinal (GI) tumor/cancer are:

  • Its size and location 
  • Whether it has spread to lymph nodes, liver, bones, or other organs 
  • Whether you have any other serious medical conditions 
  • Whether the tumor is causing bothersome symptoms

Theses cancers may be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy or combinations. The treatment is determined by location, size of the tumor and the over all health of the patient.

 

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Last Updated: 9/6/2013