Chemotherapy and biotherapy–sometimes described as medical oncology–use powerful medications to treat cancer by destroying cells or stopping them from growing. These medications can be delivered in several ways, including:
- Intravenous (IV) – Putting medicine directly into a vein
- Oral – Liquids or pills taken by mouth
- Intramuscular – Injections into a muscle
- Intrathecal – Injections into spinal fluid
- Subcutaneous – Injections under the skin
- Intra-arterial – Medication inserted directly into an artery
Infusion therapy delivers medications through a catheter. At times, oral medications may be combined with infusion therapy to deliver the best results. Newer procedures focus on a specific organ or location in the body, directing medications to a targeted site and destroying cancer cells with an intense dose of the chosen drug while sparing nearby tissue.
Immunotherapy may also be used to provide medication that stimulates a person's immune system to destroy cancer cells.
Chemotherapy treatments, including infusion therapy, are used to cure cancer, keep cancer from spreading, slow the cancer's growth and relieve cancer symptoms. Combining chemotherapy with other treatments, such as surgery or radiation–a process often known as adjuvant therapy–helps eliminate remaining cancer cells. Neoadjuvant therapy procedures may be used before surgery to reduce the size of a tumor and improve surgical outcomes.
Medical Oncology–Inpatient and Outpatient–at Reston Hospital Center
Medical oncologists at Reston Hospital help integrate chemotherapy, biotherapy and infusion appropriately into treatment of any cancer. These skilled healthcare professionals collaborate with other members of your cancer care team to plan your treatment, help you understand the procedures involved and get you through treatment smoothly.
As part of our Ann B. Rodriguez Cancer Center, we provide inpatient medical oncology services in a special unit. Our nursing staff–including Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) and chemotherapy-certified Registered Nurses (RN)–cares for you, whether you're newly diagnosed with cancer, receiving treatment for cancer, symptom control and treatment side effects or if you or your loved one need palliative care.
For outpatient infusion services, you'll want to take advantage of our convenient, attractive and comfortable Infusion Center, located in Suite 412 of the Reston Hospital Center Pavilion.
Cancers treated with chemotherapy or biotherapy include blood-related (leukemia and others), brain, breast, colorectal, gynecologic, lung and thoracic, pancreatic/liver/gallbladder, prostate and genitourinary, thyroid and skin.