Cancer Treatment at UK Markey Cancer Center
UK Markey Cancer Center is the only comprehensive cancer center in the Commonwealth designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Markey meets rigorous NCI standards to obtain and keep this designation, bringing together diverse types of research and teams to advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Through research and life-changing clinical trials, we’re helping lead the way in cancer care nationally.
Our multidisciplinary team includes subspecialists and providers across UK HealthCare who collaborate to develop a cancer treatment plan as unique as you. In addition to highly experienced physicians and nurses, our care teams include chaplains, dietitians, oncology social workers, pharmacists, physical therapists, and many others.
Since cancer isn’t one-size-fits-all, your treatment shouldn’t be, either. At Markey, we provide several treatment options to meet your needs. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are among the most common treatments.
What is chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy, or chemo, is an oral or infusion therapy consisting of cancer-fighting medicines that may kill cancer cells or slow their growth. However, chemotherapy can also damage or kill healthy cells, which can cause side effects.
- Changes in hair, skin, and nails
- Constipation, diarrhea
- Flu-like symptoms
- Loss of appetite
- Memory problems
- Nausea and vomiting
Markey’s multidisciplinary team considers the patient’s health, type of cancer and its advancement before including chemotherapy in a treatment plan. Chemo may be used alone or in conjunction with other cancer treatments.
What is radiation therapy?
Radiation treatment consists of high doses of radiation to either kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. It is sometimes given at the same time as chemotherapy, but it can also be ordered as the sole treatment. Radiation therapy can help shrink cancer before surgery or as additional therapy after surgery.
While radiation can kill or slow cancer cells, it may also damage healthy cells. Radiation also doesn’t work immediately. It may take days or weeks of treatment to kill cancer cells effectively, but the cancer cells will continue to die after therapy ends.
Other cancer treatment options
As an NCI-designated cancer center, we can offer other cancer treatment options that may not be available elsewhere. These include:
- Precision medicine. These procedures use a tumor’s genetic information or proteins to personalize a treatment that will work best for each patient.
- Bone marrow transplant. Healthy bone marrow renews the blood supply. In a bone marrow transplant, healthy bone marrow stem cells replace a patient’s faulty bone marrow. This procedure is used to treat cancers like leukemia and multiple myeloma.
- CAR T-cell therapy. T cells are white blood cells in the immune system that help fight infection. CAR T-cell therapy is a procedure in which T cells are taken from a patient’s blood and altered in a laboratory so they will find and destroy cancer cells.
- Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). During a HIPEC procedure, the provider first removes the cancer tumors and then applies heated chemotherapy medicines. This procedure is performed in the operating room often with surgery and can be used to treat certain cancers in the adrenal glands, appendix, colon and rectum, liver, ovaries, pancreas, peritoneum and stomach.
- Hormone therapy. Also called endocrine therapy or hormone treatment, hormone therapy either blocks hormone production or interferes with how hormones work. It can be used to treat breast and prostate cancers.
Immunotherapy for cancer treatment
The immune system fights cancer as part of its normal function, but sometimes cancer cells can avoid detection. In certain situations, physicians can use immunotherapy in a way that helps the immune system identify and destroy cancer cells better. And when immunotherapy is successful, the treatment response can be lasting.
Types of immunotherapy include:
- Immune checkpoint inhibitors
- Immune system modulators
- Monoclonal antibodies
- T-cell transfer therapy
- Treatment vaccines
Because some immunotherapy applications are still under evaluation and side effects can be significant, it is used less often than chemo or radiation therapy. As an NCI-designated cancer center, Markey is at the forefront of leading-edge immunotherapy treatment and research.