Modern medical treatment of cancer may include both chemotherapy and biotherapy to destroy, stop and/or slow the growth of cancer cells in your body. Chemotherapy refers to chemical medications that target cancer cells. Biotherapy – also called biological therapy or targeted therapy – uses medications that are designed to restore or boost your immune system to stop or slow the growth of cancer.

Depending on your specific cancer, your physician may recommend chemotherapy and biotherapy as primary treatments or in combination with other treatments, such as surgery and radiation therapy. Many patients receive more than one type of chemotherapy and/or biotherapy for to most effectively combat the disease.

Torrance Memorial’s Hunt Cancer Institute is here to fulfill all needs related to chemotherapy for patients undergoing treatment for cancer. Our outpatient infusion center, called the Short Stay Unit, (link) is staffed by specialty nurses. Our physicians and nurses keep you informed of your dosage, monitor your progress and teach you how to minimize side effects. As your partner in complete cancer care, we provide every tool to make your treatment as successful and comfortable as possible.

Why Chemotherapy and Biotherapy?

Chemotherapy and biotherapy drugs are used for a variety of reasons during cancer treatment.

  • Curing Cancer: Using medication to permanently destroy cancer cells either at its origin or to areas where it has spread.
  • Controlling Cancer: Using medication to shrink tumors, slow tumor growth or limit the spread of cancer when complete removal is not possible.
  • Easing Cancer Symptoms: To temporarily control symptoms caused by the tumors.

Receiving Chemotherapy and Biotherapy

Chemotherapy and biotherapy are delivered through several different means depending on the type of cancer you have and how best to treat it. Your personal treatment plan may contain one or more of these treatment delivery options:

  • Intravenous (IV): Chemotherapy delivered directly to a vein.
  • Orally: Chemotherapy delivered as pills, capsules or liquids you can swallow.
  • Topically: Chemotherapy delivered as an ointment or cream to rub onto your skin.
  • Injection: Chemotherapy delivered through a single hypodermic shot to muscle, under the skin or to fatty tissue.
  • Intra-arterial (IA): Chemotherapy delivered directly to an artery feeding a tumor.
  • Intraperitoneal (IP): Chemotherapy delivered directly to the abdominal cavity housing organs such as the liver, stomach, intestines and ovaries.

Possible Side Effects

As with all cancer treatments, chemotherapy and biotherapy can bring side effects ranging from mild to serious. Their severity depends on many factors, including the type of medication you are prescribed, the type of cancer you have and your personal health prior to cancer.

Help and Support with Chemotherapy

Our nurses and staff have extensive experience supporting patients receiving chemotherapy and biotherapy treatments for cancer and helping to minimize side effects. We also have a variety of other specialists, including dieticians, rehabilitation therapists and oncology nurse practitioners, all here to make your treatment as easy and comfortable as possible.

Our specially trained oncology nurses at Torrance Memorial Hunt Cancer Institute are available to answer questions and provide information about all aspects of cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Call 310-517-7077.