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Medical Oncology

Lourdes medical oncologists prioritize both the patient experience and selection of the most efficacious, state-of-the-science therapy currently available for each individual. They scrupulously follow best practices in drug administration and in supportive care for every person waging the fight against cancer – all the time working in cross-disciplinary collaboration with other physicians involved in the case.

Cancer can be a challenging disease that requires sophisticated and complex therapies. Lourdes Cancer Program oncologists understand this and the stress that patients and families may face during treatment. This important specialty service seeks to provide care with compassion and understanding in an environment that fosters trust and true healing.

To meet these aims, Lourdes is committed to the latest in prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up in cancer care. Responding directly to both the medical and personal-human need of its patients, the Lourdes program takes advantage of a coordinated, collaborative team approach.

Lourdes medical oncologists pride themselves on their vital role as part of a top team of physicians combatting cancer, as they deliver the chemotherapy components of the most up-to-date treatments. At both hospital-based and community-office locations, they concentrate on exacting delivery of the latest medical oncology protocols in a comfortable and convenient setting for patients. Supported by the expertise of the program’s oncology nurse navigator, who helps to organize this collaborative effort of care providers, patients get access to the latest clinical services, express scheduling and top-notch referrals as needed.

Lourdes oncologists follow evidence-based guidelines of care, including those set forth by the NCCN (National Comprehensive Cancer Network) and directed by our accreditation with the Commission on Cancer (CoC).

The Essential Role of Chemotherapy
To treat cancers, medical oncologists deliver chemotherapy, which is the use of drugs that selectively target cancer cells. This therapy is sometimes the sole form of treatment; other times, it is used in combination with additional modes of treatments, serving as a primary or adjunct (adjuvant) form of care.

Chemotherapy may be used before or after surgery, radiation therapy or other treatment, often to shrink tumors prior to use of these other forms of treatment or to kill remaining cancer cells after primary treatment. Most people diagnosed with cancer receive some form of chemotherapy as an important part of their care. Such treatments can be highly effective in controlling cancers or putting them into remission.

Lourdes medical oncologists are highly trained and constantly updated on how to match each individual cancer patient with the most effective possible drug therapy. Types of chemotherapy include:

Taking advantage of the latest innovationsDrug protocols and new chemotherapeutic agents become available literally every day. That is why it is important to have physicians who are up to date with the latest advances for cancer treatment. There are now treatments for certain cancers where few were available before, offering greater hope, fewer risks and better outcomes.

In the past, doctors treated most types of cancers in much the same way. Now they know that cancers behave differently and it is best to define the specific type of cancer and develop an individualized treatment plan. In addition, doctors are combining drugs with other therapies, or staging treatments in particular ways in order to obtain the best result.

  • chemotoxic agents. This most common form of chemotherapy attacks cancers by disproportionately killing cells with cancer-like attributes such as rapid growth rates. The various forms of these drugs may target different aspects of the growth sequence in these cells.
  • targeted therapy. These cancer drugs have properties that make them highly selective for disrupting certain types of cancer cells. The goal of this form of personalized medicine is to determine which tumors are sensitive to specific drugs as a result of their genetics or other cell properties and to deliver drug therapy that zeroes in on each patient’s cancer.
  • monocolonal antibodies. These drugs have components that seek out and match highly specific proteins on the cell surface of certain types of cancer cells, helping to bring drug affects directly to cancer tissue.
  • hormonal-related therapies. These therapies influence the affects of hormones on cancer tissue, usually preventing cancer cells from using male or female hormones to stimulate growth.
  • vaccines and other immunotherapies. These investigative approaches seek to stimulate the body’s own natural response against cancers that arise in the body, sometimes using individual or pooled cancer tissue to generate the response. The therapy works to switch back on the body’s ability to see cancers as foreign tissue and to control them.

Complete, Patient-Oriented Care
Lourdes medical oncologists also provide expert supportive care for the effects and side effects of cancer and cancer treatment. These roles include help with managing pain, drug side effects and psychosocial effects of disease and treatment. The Lourdes staff takes advantage of significant strides that have been made in recent years in easing and managing side effects of treatment.

Lourdes medical oncologists have an important function in educating patients about their cancer condition and in using radiologic imaging and other diagnostics to help monitor progress of treatment. They also encourage patients to embrace wholistic care, including through referral to Lourdes’ comprehensive Wellness Services.

At Lourdes medical oncology locations, a licensed social worker provides counseling to patients and family members. The Lourdes cancer program also offers a very special feature: the services to patients and families of its oncology nurse navigator.  The staff pays special attention to quality-of-life issues throughout the course of care and follow-up, and they work in close communication with referring physicians.

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