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Cancer Care

CentraCare Health provides comprehensive care and an extensive range of treatment options to support cancer patients and their families. We understand the importance of receiving quality cancer care and treatment close to home, and provide services in many Central Minnesota communities including:

We are committed to provide our patients with:

  • Exceptional quality and outcomes based on adherence to best practice standards.
  • Multidisciplinary coordination of care.
  • Shared decision-making.
  • Continued adoption of new technologies and services.
  • Access to leading cancer providers, research and clinical trials. 
  • Programming to support the journey from cancer patient to cancer survivor.

Treatments Available

The type of cancer and stage of development will be the determining factors on which therapy treatment to use.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with drugs that destroy cancer cells. These drugs are often called “anti-cancer” drugs.

Chemotherapy:

  • Is a systemic treatment (goes through your blood system and affects your entire body).
  • Can be given orally, through a vein, by injection, directly at the tumor site with specialized equipment or via continuous infusion.

Depending on the type of cancer and its stage of development, chemotherapy can be
used to:

  • Cure cancer.
  • Keep the cancer from spreading.
  • Slow the cancer’s growth.
  • Kill cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body from the original tumor.
  • Relieve symptoms that may be caused by the cancer.

Hematology

Hematology is the branch of medicine that focuses on the study of blood, the blood-forming organs and blood diseases. Hematology is a sub-specialty of internal medicine, separate from, but often overlapping with the sub-specialty of medical oncology.

A hematologist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and study of blood diseases.

Conditions commonly treated by hematologists include:

  • Anemias
  • Aplastic anemia, sickle cell disease, thalassemia, vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Bleeding Disorders
  • Hemophilia
  • Blood Transfusions
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Infectious Diseases, Immunodeficiency Syndromes and Auto-immune Diseases
  • HIV / AIDS, malaria
  • Leukemia
  • Neutropenia (Low White Blood Cell Count)
  • Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
  • Platelet DisordersIdiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP)
  • Thrombosis (Blood Clotting Disorders)

Infusion Therapy

Infusion therapy involves introducing a fluid or medication into a vein to provide treatment that cannot be taken by mouth. Infusion therapy is provided to treat illness or counteract the side effects of treatment.

Medical Oncology

Medical oncology is the specialty of internal medicine that deals with the diagnosis, management and treatment of cancer.

Medical oncologists are physicians who have specialized knowledge of all aspects of the treatment of cancer, including chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy and biotherapy.

Palliative Care

Palliative Care focuses on providing adults and children with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care is appropriate at any age (even prenatally) and at any state in a serious illness. The cost of the services is covered by most health plans. Learn more

Radiation Oncology

Radiation therapy, sometimes called radiotherapy or irradiation, is the use of various forms of radiation to safely and effectively treat cancer and other diseases. Modern technology allows radiation oncologists to treat tumors more powerfully and precisely while sparing much of the healthy tissue that surrounds the tumor.

Radiation:

  • Is a special kind of energy carried by waves or particles.
  • Works by damaging the DNA within cancer cells and destroying the ability of the cancer cells to reproduce.
  • Can be delivered internally or externally.
  • Can come from special machines or from radioactive substances.

Depending on the type of cancer and its stage of development, radiation therapy can be used to:

  • Cure cancer.
  • Keep the cancer from spreading.
  • Slow the cancer’s growth.
  • Kill cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body from the original tumor.
  • Relieve symptoms caused by the cancer.

Sometimes radiation therapy is the only treatment a patient needs, and other times it is only one part of a patient’s treatment. For example, prostate and early stage larynx cancers are often treated with radiation alone. But a woman with breast cancer may be treated with surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

It is important for you to discuss the goal of your treatment with your radiation oncologist.

Radiation Oncology Team

The process of designing and delivering a course of radiation therapy is a complicated process that depends on the expertise of several people pulling together, including:

  • A radiation oncologist who plans and prescribes your treatments.
  • A medical physicist who works with the radiation oncologist to ensure the accuracy of your treatment delivery.
  • A dosimetrist who calculates the amount of radiation to be given and works with complex computers to custom design your treatment plan.
  • A radiation therapist who actually administers the radiation treatments and that you will see every day.
  • A registered nurse, who specializes in oncology care, is available to help you and your family during the course of treatment.

Is Radiation Therapy Safe?

Some patients have concerns about the safety of radiation therapy. Radiation has been successfully used to treat patients for more than a century. In that time, many advances have been made to ensure the safety and effectiveness.

Before you begin treatment, your radiation oncology team will carefully tailor the treatment plan to assure you receive safe and accurate treatment. Throughout your treatment, members of your team check and recheck your plan. Sophisticated computers are also used to monitor and ensure proper treatment is given.

If you undergo external beam radiation therapy, you will not be “radioactive” following treatment, because the radiation does not stay in your body. However, if you undergo brachytherapy, tiny radioactive sources will be implanted inside your body, in or around the tumor, either temporarily or permanently. Your radiation oncology team will explain any special precautions that you or your family and friends may need to take.

 

Coborn Cancer Center

Our Coborn Cancer Center in St. Cloud, Minn., is the first program in the United States to become a member of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Care Fight Against CancerNetwork. Coborn Cancer Center is designated as a certified comprehensive community cancer program by the American College of Surgeons, and our radiation program is certified by the American College of Radiology. Learn more

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