A healthy body replaces cells that die or become damaged, but cancerous cells reproduce uncontrollably and take up space where normal cells should be. Chemotherapy drugs destroy these cells by damaging their DNA or stopping them from dividing. Intrathecal chemotherapy involves administering it directly into the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord rather than through a vein or mouth.
Your Uvalde physician will plan your chemotherapy treatments, which usually involve several drug therapies over 3 to 6 months. To give your body time to recover from the effects of the drugs, you will typically undergo cycles of treatment and rest periods. Chemotherapy can be used independently or with other medicines, including surgery, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy. It can also shrink a tumor before surgery or kill any remaining cancer cells after surgery (called preoperative or neoadjuvant chemotherapy). It is sometimes used in more advanced stages of cancer to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.
Radiation is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells. It can be used alone or with other medicines, including surgery and chemotherapy. It is often used to shrink a tumor before surgery or to treat cancer that has spread. It can also be used to relieve symptoms after surgery.
During radiation therapy, you lie very still on an examination table while the ultrasound physician or therapist positions your body to direct the radiation toward the tumor. Before beginning your treatment, you may undergo a simulation to help doctors determine how much radiation you need and where the radiation should be directed.
The team will monitor your progress and adjust your dose during radiation. Many people have very few side effects from radiation. Side effects depend on the location and kind of cancer, your general health, and how you respond to treatment.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cells are the body’s raw materials from which all other specialized cells are formed. They can be used to treat many diseases and conditions. Doctors use blood stem cells from the bone marrow during transplants to treat blood cancers like leukemia and other diseases caused by abnormal blood cells.
Scientists are developing mesenchymal stem cells to treat neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). However, these experimental treatments are expensive and may not be covered by insurance.
Patients should always consider the Uvalde physician’s and clinic’s credentials for stem cell therapy. It’s important to ask where the stem cells are coming from, if they’re viable, and if the facility is regulated. Costs should also be weighed with this in mind.
Immunotherapy uses your body’s immune system to find and destroy cancer cells. It’s an emerging treatment that may be more precise and less toxic than chemotherapy and radiation, which can affect healthy cells in addition to cancer ones.
Your immune system constantly patrols, checking for invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Lymph nodes throughout your body are police stations that send chemical signals to white blood cells, called lymphocytes, that fight infection and cancer.
Some types of immunotherapy work by priming your immune system to attack a specific protein target found in cancer cells. These therapies are known as targeted therapies or immunotherapy vaccines. Others bolster your immune system’s natural cytokines, which help ramp up your white blood cells to attack cancer cells.
Residents of Uvalde have access to specialist endocrine care with an experienced hormone doctor. They understand how hormones affect the body and can work closely with patients to develop a personalized plan that addresses their needs.
Hormone therapy can improve a patient’s emotional and physical health and help them feel better and stronger. It can also boost fertility levels, increase ovulation patterns, and reduce the risk of some forms of cancer linked to hormonal imbalances.