Chemotherapy and biological therapies are systemic treatments for cancer. They treat the whole body.
Your Medical Oncology Appointment
Most patients will typically meet with a medical oncologist during their first appointment. For many cancer patients the first line of cancer treatment includes chemotherapy or a biological therapy before surgery or radiation therapy is given. The medical oncologist also acts as the lead physician between other physicians that may be involved in your cancer treatment program including surgeons, radiation oncologists, and any other specialists that may be involved depending on the type of cancer.
During your initial visit with the medical oncologist, s/he will review your medical and family history along with results from any tests that were done to create a diagnosis. After reviewing your history, additional testing such as a PET scan or a CT scan may be ordered to help the oncologist understand more about the type of cancer you have and how much cancer is present, also known as the stage of cancer.
Whether it’s at the initial appointment or possibly in a follow up appointment after other diagnostic tests are run, you will then review the oncologist’s recommended cancer treatment options. You will be guided through your options and address any questions you may have. This is often a good appointment to bring a friend or family member who can help you listen, ask questions and consult with you about your cancer treatment decision.
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. Chemotherapy may be given by mouth, injection, infusion, or on the skin, depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. Most often it’s given through an IV that is infused into your veins at one of our outpatient offices in the Oklahoma City area. It may also be given alone or with other treatments and may be given before and/or after surgery.
Biological (Bio)therapy, or immunotherapy, helps your immune system fight the cancer. It uses substances either made by the body or in a laboratory to improve or restore the immune system’s function. It may be used at the same time as chemotherapy treatments if there is proof that a combination works best to fight your type of cancer.
After any kind of cancer treatments, including chemotherapy or biological therapy, you will need to undergo testing to review how well it’s worked and to confirm the current status of your cancer. This is done periodically to track progress and determine if a different treatment plan is needed.
Chemotherapy & Biological Therapy Education
Optim Oncology offers Chemotherapy Classes for patients and their families. This class provides important information on topics such as what to expect while you are undergoing chemotherapy or immunotherapy treatment, as well as diet and exercise for those undergoing treatment.