Personalized, Leading-edge Care
Navigating the road through cancer treatment can be overwhelming. At The University of Kansas Cancer Center, we’re here to guide you each step of the way. Our multidisciplinary team of oncologists, cancer surgeons and other care team members will work with you to develop a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan.
The care we provide is not “one size fits all.” Your treatment will be tailored to meet your particular needs. Several factors play a role in your treatment, including the stage, location and type of cancer, along with your age and overall health. Cancer treatment also varies depending on whether the goal of your treatment is to cure the cancer, keep it from spreading or relieve the symptoms it causes.
Ultraviolet rays are used to in a process called photopheresis that helps boost a patient's blood as they battle various cancers and recover from stem cell and lung transplants. Hematologist Sunil Abhyankar, MD, and two patients explain how it works.
Your treatment plan may include one or more of the following:
A biopsy may be necessary early on to diagnose your cancer and determine its stage. During a biopsy, surgeons remove a tissue sample. The sample goes to a lab, where a doctor reviews it under a microscope to see if it’s cancer and, if so, to determine what type of cancer it is.
To treat cancer, a surgeon may remove a tumor or cancerous tissue and some surrounding tissue. This may eliminate your cancer. It also helps your physician see the characteristics of your cancer and determine the best method of treatment in case of a cancer recurrence.
Chemotherapy uses medicines to destroy cancer cells. You may receive it by injection, through your veins, or delivered orally in the form of a pill. When anticancer drugs travel through the bloodstream to all parts of the body, it’s called systemic chemotherapy. Sometimes patients receive chemotherapy through their spinal column, an organ or a body cavity, such as the abdomen. This is called regional chemotherapy. More than half of all people diagnosed with cancer receive chemotherapy.
The doctor may use one medicine or a combination during the course of your treatment. The type of chemotherapy you receive depends on the type and stage of your cancer.
Radiation therapy uses high-dose X-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It can be internal or external. You may receive radiation from outside the body, or the doctor may place radioactive material inside your body, near the cancer site.
The University of Kansas Cancer Center also offers intensity modulated radiotherapy, or IMRT, and stereotactic radiotherapy, or SRT. These procedures minimize radiation damage to normal tissues around the tumor, especially sensitive tissues, such as the brainstem, spinal cord, eyes and optic nerves. Additionally, we also provide low-dose brachytherapy, a type of internal radiotherapy.
Radiation may be used to cure or control cancer, or to ease some of the symptoms caused by cancer. Sometimes radiation is used with other types of cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy and surgery, and sometimes it is used alone.
Hormones are chemicals the body produces naturally, but they can sometimes cause cancer to grow. Hormone therapy can block these chemicals and cause the cancer to shrink or reduce the chance of the cancer spreading or returning. Hormone therapy can be given by mouth or injection. Sometimes organs that secrete hormones, such as the ovaries or testicles, are removed to slow hormone production. Most hormone therapy lasts about five years. It is usually combined with other treatments.
Targeted therapies are medicines or substances that stop the spread and growth of cancer by blocking the biological process involved in tumor growth. For example, one targeted therapy blocks the HER-2/neu protein involved in a specific kind of breast cancer. Targeted therapies often are combined with chemotherapy and can increase your survival rate. They can be given by mouth or through the veins.
Biological therapy – also known as immunologic therapy, immunotherapy, or biotherapy – uses the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells. Types of biological therapy include interferon, interleukin, monoclonal antibodies, colony stimulating factors (cytokines) and vaccines.
Interventional oncology uses image-guided technology to provide minimally invasive, targeted treatments. The technology allows physicians to place small catheters just under a patient’s skin to deliver drugs (like chemotherapy and pain medication) or obtain biopsies. Compared to surgery, these less-invasive procedures result in faster recovery times and fewer risks of complications. Learn more.