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Cancer treatments

Inpatient oncology care

The surgical/oncology unit is a 33-bed inpatient unit that provides holistic nursing care to patients and families experiencing a cancer diagnosis. Patients and families are provided education and printed materials related to the disease process, treatment plan, symptom management and available support resources. The nursing staff is certified in chemotherapy administration and also attends annual educational updates on new medications, research findings and other topics related to the care of patients with cancer.

Outpatient treatments

Saint Luke's Cancer Institute at Liberty Hospital provides patients with knowledgeable, personalized, compassionate care throughout their cancer experience. Services include physician clinics, chemotherapy administration and symptom management. The staff at the center provides patients and their families with educational materials so that they may take an active role in their own care.

Lymphedema therapy

Certified lymphedema therapists are available to assess and treat patients with lymphedema using complete decongestive therapy. The hospital’s lymphedema therapists have more than 100 hours of education in this therapy. This state-of-the-art treatment, recommended by the International Society of Lymphology, often includes two to four weeks of treatment and education on independent management of symptoms.

Cancer Rehabilitation Education and Support (CaRES) Program

The CaRES program helps patients overcome cancer-related fatigue, whether it's connected to the disease, the chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Patients work one-on-one with a physical therapist that has special training in cancer-related fatigue. In addition to fighting fatigue, the CaRES program helps patient who may have problems with strength or balance as a result of their treatment, and it is customized to meet the patient’s individualized needs.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells, which grow and divide quickly, such as those that line your mouth and intestines or cause your hair to grow. Damage to healthy cells may cause side effects. Often, side effects get better or go away after chemotherapy is over.

Many different types of chemotherapy drugs are available. Chemotherapy drugs can be used alone or in combination to treat a wide variety of cancers. Chemotherapy may also be used in combination with other forms of cancer therapy, such as radiation, and it may be used either before or after surgery.

Radiation

Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is a cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and stop them from spreading. At low doses, radiation is used as an x-ray to see inside your body and take pictures, such as x-rays of your teeth or broken bones. Radiation used in cancer treatment works in a similar way, except that it's given in higher doses.

Radiation therapy can be an external beam (when a machine outside your body aims radiation at the cancer cells) or internal (when radiation is put inside your body, in or near the cancer cells). Sometimes people get both forms of radiation therapy.

Surgery

If your cancer requires surgery, you can take comfort in knowing that Liberty Hospital uses the most up-to-date technology designed to provide you with the highest-quality care. The hospital's staff has experience with mastectomies; lung resection; thyroid removal; brain tumor removal; and surgical treatments for cervical, uterine, ovarian, and head and neck cancers. Some procedures can be performed laparoscopically, such as colon resection, which means a faster recovery time for the patient.

Radiofrequency ablation for cancer

Radiofrequency (RF) ablation is a minimally invasive treatment for cancer. The treatment is an alternative when surgery is not a good option, often when other medical conditions increase the risk of surgery. RF ablation kills cancer cells by heating and destroying them. Guided by computed tomography (CT) or ultrasound, the physician inserts a thin needle through the skin and into the tumor. Electrical energy delivered through this needle heats and destroys the tumor. Months after the procedure, dead cells turn into scar tissue.

Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy is a treatment that uses radiation to kill cancer cells. This treatment can make cancer tumors stop growing, shrink or go away. It may also help prevent cancer from spreading to other places in your body. During brachytherapy, radioactive seeds are placed inside and around the tumors. Seeds are small beads, or bars, which give off radiation in all directions around them. This radiation only reaches tumors and tissues that are close by. Cancer cells that get enough radiation may stop growing and the cancer cells may die. Some seeds need to be taken out after time, while others can be left inside your body. Brachytherapy may be given in several treatments.