A medical oncologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer with medications. Your medical oncologist is responsible for leading your care throughout your cancer journey.
What Will My Medical Oncologist Do?
At Memorial, your medical oncologist:
- Orders tests to confirm the presence of cancer, then explains the diagnosis and stage
- Discusses your treatment options and makes recommendations based on your situation and goals
- Manages the symptoms of cancer and side effects of treatment, such as pain, nausea and fatigue
- Builds a team of other healthcare providers who can help, such as surgeons, nutritionists and social workers
- Orders tests to assess whether treatment is effective
- Adjusts the treatment plan based on effectiveness and how you’re tolerating treatment
What Oncology Medicines Does Memorial Offer?
Memorial offers numerous cancer medications, from traditional approaches to leading-edge options. Your medical oncologist may recommend one or more of the following cancer treatments:
- Cellular therapy: Cellular therapy uses human cells against cancer. It often involves taking cells from your body, re-engineering them and injecting or infusing them back into your system. These treatments can activate your immune system to attack cancer cells or repair or replace abnormal cells.
- Chemotherapy: Traditional chemotherapy (chemo) treatment uses chemicals to destroy cancer cells. There are over 100 different chemotherapy drugs. They may be given intravenously, taken orally, injected or applied topically. Chemo is systemic, meaning it travels throughout the body and affects both cancerous and healthy cells.
- Immunotherapy: Sometimes called biologic therapy, immunotherapy can boost your immune system to find and attack cancer cells. It’s a relatively new and highly effective approach to treating certain types of cancer. Immunotherapy may involve using drugs, cellular therapy, cancer vaccines, viruses or immune system proteins to help the body fight cancer.
- Targeted therapy: Tumors form when genes in healthy cells change (mutate), become abnormal and multiply rapidly. Targeted therapy uses drugs to identify and target cells with these gene mutations while sparing healthy cells. For example, targeted therapy can detect a special protein or enzyme on a certain type of cancer cell, then attach to those cells. The drugs act on cancer cells in different ways: they can stop cells from multiplying, prevent them from living longer than normal or destroy them.
Your medical oncologist may also work with radiation oncologists to plan radiation therapy or surgical oncologists to determine surgery options.
Medical Oncology: Why Choose Memorial Cancer Institute?
When you come to Memorial for medical oncology treatment, you’ll find:
- Special training: Our oncologists are board certified and fellowship trained in medical oncology. They have extensive experience diagnosing cancer and recommending the most effective medications to fight it. Like doctors at the nation’s most prestigious academic centers, our doctors are highly specialized in specific types of tumors.
- Experts in every type of cancer: We have medical oncologists who specialize in every type of cancer. This specialization means that your doctor has vast knowledge of the anatomy affected by cancer, treatment options and side effects. This can be especially important if you have a rare cancer or one that is difficult to treat.
- Access to every treatment option: Memorial’s medical oncologists offer every medication currently available to fight cancer, including countless chemotherapy options, cellular therapy,
immunotherapy and targeted therapy.
- Multidisciplinary care: Cancer care often requires a combination of treatments. Our medical oncologists recommend systemic medications (those that travel throughout your body) and work with a multidisciplinary team when you need additional approaches. Your medical oncologist collaborates with radiation oncologists, oncology surgeons, pathologists, oncology nurses and support specialists to ensure you receive comprehensive, whole-person care.
- Clinical trials: Memorial Cancer Institute conducts extensive research to improve cancer care. Our clinical trials can provide access to advanced medical oncology treatments not available everywhere.