Understanding Medical Oncology
Oncology is the field of medicine devoted to cancer. Medical oncology is the treatment of cancer with medicine, including chemotherapy.
Oncologists may specialize in specific types of cancer such as breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, brain and spinal cord cancer (neuro-oncology), etc.
Once a cancer diagnosis is made, the medical oncologist may explain the cancer diagnosis and meaning of the disease stage to the patient, discuss various treatment options, recommend a course of treatment, deliver care and provide curative therapy and palliative care with pain and symptom management.
Typically, when a tumor is discovered, a patient will first see a surgeon. The surgeon will perform a biopsy of the tumor and send the tissue to a pathologist for evaluation. If a cancer diagnosis is made, an oncologist will evaluate the patient to determine the stage of the cancer. Staging usually involves a precise evaluation of the tumor, lymph nodes, and any metastasis or spread of the disease.
At WDH, cancer is treated by a multi-disciplinary team of oncologists. The team usually includes a pathologist, a diagnostic radiologist and an oncology nurse. The advantage of the team approach is it combines the unique skill sets of several different disciplines into one consulting group, as cancer treatment frequently involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. In the case of a new or difficult cancer diagnosis, a tumor board will be called upon to review the case. Tumor boards consist of medical experts from all relevant disciplines who consult on a course of treatment for an individual patient.
The Seacoast Cancer Center's outpatient infusion center provides chemotherapy and supportive services.
Flooded with sunshine, the infusion room offers 18 bays. Each treatment bay has a reclining chair, television, DVD and seating for visitors. The infusion room has Wi-Fi and laptops are available for patient use. Families are able to visit with the patients during treatment. Reiki is available by appointment. Adjacent to the infusion room is an outdoor healing garden.
The goal of chemotherapy is to return the patient to health by systematically treating known and microscopic cancer. The center offers targeted therapies, specifically designed to focus on the location of the cancer and treat the type of cancer each patient has. In addition to chemotherapy, the infusion center administers blood products, injections and other therapeutic infusions.
The infusion room is staffed by Oncology Certified Nurses. Adjacent to the infusion room is our oncology pharmacy staffed by designated oncology pharmacists and technicians.