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Medical Oncology and Hematology

A medical oncologist is a physician who has extensive training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. As your primary cancer doctor, your medical oncologist and hematologist is actively involved in all levels of your care. He or she:

  • Educates you and your family about your form of cancer and its stages of development
  • Helps you explore and understand your treatment options
  • Oversees your chemotherapy and other treatments
  • Monitors your progress

Cancer Care Northwest offers complete medical oncology and hematology services, including:

Chemotherapy: Uses anticancer medicine to kill cancer. 

Immunotherapy: Uses medicines to boost your immune system's ability to fight cancer.  

Hormonal therapy: Reduces the level of hormones that some tumors need to grow.

Stem Cell Transplant: Replaces stem cells that were damaged during high-dose chemotherapy with your healthy stem cells.  

Targeted therapy: Uses drugs to target and directly attack cancer cells.  

Chemotherapy treatments are available at each of Cancer Care Northwest’s locations. Our medical oncology team includes 13 board-certified, fellowship-trained physicians, nine nurse practitioners, and oncology nurses certified in chemotherapy administration. Our medical oncologists have extensive training and experience in the use of medicines and related medical procedures to fight cancer. They collaborate closely with other members of your care team—including your surgical oncologist and radiation oncologist—to ensure optimal results.

What is Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is a form of cancer treatment that uses anticancer medicines to destroy cancer cells or to slow their growth.

How does it work?
There are many cancer-fighting drugs used in chemotherapy. Depending on your type of cancer, treatment plan and other health needs, your medical oncologists will determine which drug, or combination of drugs, is best for you.

Chemotherapy may be used alone or in combination with other therapies, such as radiation or surgery. You may have more than one doctor working with you to ensure that you receive the best care and treatment for your particular cancer.

Chemotherapy may be administered in one of several ways:

  • Intravenous (IV): Chemotherapy goes directly into the vein through an IV needle. Sometimes it’s necessary to place a device into your chest or arm to allow easier access to your veins. This device is used throughout your treatment, but can be removed when treatments are completed
  • Injection: Chemotherapy is given as a shot in a muscle or under the skin.
  • Intraperitoneal: Chemotherapy goes directly into an area that contains organs such as your intestines, stomach, liver and ovaries. This type of treatment is for cancers in the abdominal cavity.
  • Topically: Medicines are applied to skin as a cream.
  • Oral: Chemotherapy medicines are swallowed as a pill or taken in liquid form.

Chemotherapy at Cancer Care Northwest
Our medical oncologists are extensively trained and experienced in the use of chemotherapy to treat cancer. We also have a skilled team of oncology-trained advanced registered nurse practitioners as well as certified oncology nurses trained to administer chemotherapy. Our in-house pharmacists and technicians work with your nurses to ensure correct dosage and safe delivery of the medication.

Each of Cancer Care Northwest’s locations has several chemo chairs equipped to deliver IV chemotherapy in a comfortable setting. Limited chemotherapy is also available at our outreach clinics.

Learn More
To better prepare yourself for chemotherapy, we invite you to attend our Chemo Classes where you will receive a comprehensive booklet explaining what to expect from treatment, side effects and helpful coping tips. Ask your Cancer Care Northwest physician or nurse today about signing up for Chemo Class. 

What is Immunotherapy?
Similar to chemotherapy, immunotherapy, also called biological therapy, is a treatment that uses specific medicines. These medicines enhance your immune system’s ability to fight cancer. Some of these medicines can also alleviate side effects caused by other types of cancer treatments.

How does it work?
There are several forms of immunotherapy for various types of cancer. Some methods use medicines, such as Interferon, to stimulate your body’s natural ability to recognize cancerous cells and better defend itself against cancer. Other methods use laboratory-made vaccines or antibodies, such as Avastin or Herceptin, to fight the cancer. Immunotherapy is also used to boost the immune system after other treatments to help prevent cancer from coming back. Immunotherapy may be delivered with a pill, intravenously (IV) or through an injection.

Learn More
To better prepare yourself for immunotherapy, we invite you to attend our Chemo Classes where you will receive a comprehensive booklet explaining what to expect from treatment, side effects and helpful coping tips. Talk to you Cancer Care Northwest physician or nurse today about signing up for Chemo Class. 

What is hormonal therapy?
Similar to chemotherapy, hormonal therapy is a type of treatment that uses medicines to fight cancer. These medicines are designed to keep certain types of cancerous cells from getting the natural hormones they need to grow.

How does it work?
There are several medicines that may be used in hormonal therapy, depending on your type of cancer. The medicines stop or slow the growth of the cancer by either preventing your body from producing natural hormones or by altering the function of these hormones in the body.

Tamoxifen, for example, is a type of hormonal therapy medicine that is sometimes used to treat early breast cancers or metastatic breast cancers. The medicine works by blocking the effects of the female hormone, estrogen, which some breast tumors need to grow.

Medicines used in hormonal therapy may be delivered to the bloodstream through a small pellet implanted under the skin, an injection (shot), or a pill taken orally.

Surgery to remove the organs that produce natural hormones is another form of hormonal therapy. The ovaries are the organs in women that produce female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Testicles are the male organs that produce the testosterone hormone.

Hormonal therapy is also often used in combination with other types of chemotherapy.

Who receives hormonal therapy?
Hormonal therapy is most often used in the treatment of breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Learn More
To better prepare yourself for hormonal therapy, we invite you to talk to your Cancer Care Northwest physician. 

What is targeted therapy?
Targeted therapy is a relatively new type of cancer treatment. It is similar to chemotherapy in that it uses certain medicines to attack and stop the spread of cancer.

How does it work?
In targeted therapy, a medicine is designed to pinpoint and attach to small particles in the body that are known or suspected to play a role in cancer formation. These drugs block the process by which normal cells become cancerous cells, preventing the growth or spread of tumors.

Because anticancer drugs are “targeted” directly toward the cancerous cells, this type of therapy is considered to be less harmful to normal cells than some chemotherapy drugs that destroy healthy cells in addition to cancerous cells. Target therapy is often used in combination with other forms of chemotherapy.

Learn More
To better prepare yourself for targeted therapy, we invite you to talk with your Cancer Care Northwest physician.

Medical oncology and hematology are innovative methods of cancer treatment and is constantly changing. We invite you to learn more by visiting the following trusted sites: