Chemotherapy is the use of medicines to treat cancer. These medications target tumors and destroy their cells. Medical oncologists are the physicians who decide whether to give chemotherapy and which types of chemotherapy to use.
At Washington Cancer Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, medical oncologists work with other types of cancer doctors to create the most effective treatment plan for your type of cancer. For example, if you have breast cancer, you may need surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Your medical oncologist will work with your breast surgeon and radiation oncologist to create a personalized treatment plan based on the specifics of your breast tumor.
For certain tumors, chemotherapy given before surgery helps shrink the tumor, which makes it easier to remove. When used after surgery, chemotherapy reduces the possibility of regrowth of the cancer and helps prevent the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body. When used after a cancer has spread, chemotherapy can shrink the cancer. Chemotherapy also treats blood cancers.
While your medical oncologist will be your primary cancer treatment physician, you will need support from other healthcare professionals, including:
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