When a cancer diagnosis is handed down, many people assume that the patient will be undergoing chemotherapy treatment. The fact is, chemotherapy is just one tool in a whole arsenal that physician Dr. Jorge Perez MD, PhD, MRCP, MRCPath, and his team at Sierra Nevada Cancer Center have for treating cancer.
Depending on the type of cancer, chemotherapy is one of the many treatments available for cancer and is often used in a combination of treatments when it is used at all. In previous years, chemotherapy may have been the primary cancer treatment, but new technology and research is changing cancer treatment here in Nevada and around the world.
For patients of Sierra Nevada Cancer Center, all cancer treatment options are “on the table”, including biological therapies, cancer vaccines, and immunotherapy – in addition to chemotherapy.
Every individual cancer case is unique and only an oncologist familiar with the patient can make a recommendation for appropriate treatment.
Biological therapies use the natural defense system of your body to fight cancer or the side effects of another cancer treatment. Living organisms, or synthetic versions created in a lab, stimulate the body’s own immune system or interfere with tumor growth.
If Dr. Jorge Perez believes that you could benefit from biological therapy, he may prescribe its use in your cancer treatment.
Cancer vaccines work like other vaccines, they make a person’s immune system attack cancer cells. Most cancer vaccines are used in cancer treatment, although some are actually used for prevention – most notably the HPV vaccine used in adolescent children to prevent the human papilloma virus (HPV) from causing cervical, anal, throat, and some other cancers. The vaccine that prevents hepatitis B virus may also help prevent the development of liver cancer.
Immunotherapy stimulated your immune system to fight cancer cells. Sometimes it is used interchangeably with the term biological therapy. Among the most promising therapies is nivolumab (Opdivo®) used to treat advanced (metastatic) squamous NSCLC that has failed chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy continues to be the strongest ally in the cancer fight. There are more than 100 chemo drugs used today and Dr. Perez will choose a drug based on the kind of cancer his patient has and its stage.
Dr. Perez provides comprehensive cancer care in Northern Nevada and at Lake Tahoe. To find out more about Dr. Perez and Sierra Nevada Cancer Center, please contact us.