Chemotherapy is used to treat many types of cancer, and will consist of a series of treatments. The number and frequency of treatments will vary depending on your history and type of cancer, although it generally consists of one treatment every one to three weeks over a period of time.
At Optim Oncology, chemotherapy treatment is administered in our infusion area and monitored by our Oncology Certified Nurses. During each visit, your team here will monitor your cancer treatment progress.
For some people, chemotherapy may be the only treatment given. But most often chemotherapy is combined with other types of cancer treatment. The cancer treatment plan that you need depends on the type of cancer you have, if it has spread and where, and if you have other health problems. Your medical oncologist will assess all of these things when making a recommendation.
Biologic therapy, also called immunotherapy, is a type of cancer treatment designed to boost the body's natural defenses to fight the cancer. It uses substances either made by the body or in a laboratory to improve or restore immune system function.
There are many different types of immunotherapy used to treat cancer. They include:
- Monoclonal antibodies, also called Targeted Therapy, are drugs that are designed to bind to specific targets in the body. They can cause an immune response that destroys cancer cells, or they can “mark” cancer cells so it is easier for the immune system to find and destroy them.
- Adoptive cell transfer, which is a treatment that attempts to boost the natural ability of your T cells to fight cancer. T cells are a type of white blood cell and part of the immune system. Researchers take T cells from the tumor. They use the T cells that are most active against your cancer or modify them to make them better able to find and destroy your cancer cells. Researchers then grow large batches of these T cells in the lab.
- The T cells that were grown in the lab will be given back to you through a needle in your vein. The process of growing your T cells in the lab can take 2 to 8 weeks, depending on how fast they grow.
- Cytokines are proteins that are made by your body’s cells. They play important roles in the body’s normal immune responses and also in the immune system’s ability to respond to cancer. The two main types of cytokines used to treat cancer are called interferons and interleukins.
- Treatment Vaccines, which work against cancer by boosting your immune system’s response to cancer cells. Treatment vaccines are different from the ones that help prevent disease.
- BCG, which stands for Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, is an immunotherapy that is used to treat bladder cancer. It is a weakened form of the bacteria that causes tuberculosis. When inserted directly into the bladder with a catheter, BCG causes an immune response against cancer cells. It is also being studied in other types of cancer.