Cancer Treatment Options
Learning you have cancer may leave you overwhelmed and uncertain about what’s to come. At SSM Health our compassionate team of cancer specialists will work closely with you to create a care plan that meets both your physical and emotional needs. From diagnostics to treatment, we offer the most advanced options for cancer treatment, so you can be sure you’re getting exceptional care and the support you deserve.
Your care plan will generally start with diagnostic imaging scans and testing to determine the extent of your cancer. From there, your care team will create a comprehensive treatment plan that may include options such as minimally invasive surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or other interventions.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer, request a second opinion from SSM Health to confirm your diagnosis and learn how we would approach your care. Let us help you move forward with confidence.
Imaging is used in treating cancer as both a diagnostic tool and to measure the success of treatment. Radiologists share the results of your imaging procedures with the rest of your care team to help determine the stage of the cancer and your treatment options. Imaging technology may include:
- Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scans
- Positron-emission tomography (PET) scans
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Cancer surgery remains a leading option for removing cancer from the body. SSM Health surgical oncologists are board-certified in a variety of advanced surgical treatments for cancers. They perform cancer surgeries for many reasons, including diagnosing, removing and relieving the symptoms of multiple types of cancer.
About half of our patients with cancer will receive radiation therapy (RT) during their treatment. Radiation therapy is often used to treat cancer after surgery to destroy any remaining cancerous cells in the body. This helps lower the chances that the cancer will return or spread into nearby lymph nodes.
Unlike chemotherapy, in which drugs circulate throughout the entire body, these processes are designed to specifically place radiation in or near the tumor while minimizing damage to surrounding tissue.
The average radiation oncology treatment is prescribed daily for four to six weeks, using technology called a linear accelerator. We provide a variety of radiation procedures, including:
- 3D-conformal external beam radiation therapy
- Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
- Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)
Chemotherapy & Targeted Therapies
Chemotherapy refers to drugs that travel through the bloodstream and destroy cancer cells. These may be administered orally or intravenously and are typically given in cycles.
Therapies that may be part of your care plan include:
- Radioactive iodine therapy: a liquid or capsule that is swallowed and used to kill cancer cells in the thyroid after surgery
- Radioimmunotherapy: medications that deliver radiation directly to cancer cells; made of monoclonal antibodies that carry radioactive isotopes allowing the antibody to attach to cancer cells and deliver radiation directly to the cells
- Immunotherapy: (also known as biologic therapy or biotherapy) boosts the body’s natural immune system to combat types of cancer
- Targeted therapy: new, promising drugs that stop the action of abnormal proteins that cause cells to grow and divide
- Stem cell transplantation: takes stem cells from a healthy donor (typically a sibling) and infuses them in the patient’s bloodstream; cells evolve into healthy, blood-producing cells after placement
- Bone marrow transplantation: replaces diseased bone marrow with highly specialized stem cells
Following cancer treatment, you may need follow-up rehabilitation services to help you recover and regain your strength. Schedule an appointment with your cancer care team to discuss what rehabilitation services can help you on your road to recovery.
Cancer Treatment Designed for You
SSM Health's care teams strives to provide the best cancer care that modern medicine offers, including board-certified doctors and supportive care professionals that ensure care tailored to your diagnosis and your overall health.
If you are facing a cancer diagnosis, find an SSM Health provider near you to learn how we can support you on this journey. When you select SSM Health as your cancer care partner, you are choosing more than state-of-the-art cancer care. You are choosing exceptional health care.