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
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
- 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.