Programs & Services
Cancer Detection and Treatment
Cancer Treatment Options
Cancer drugs such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy and other biological treatments are used to destroy or slow down cancer cells from growing. Sometimes the goal of cancer drugs is to cure however when cure is not possible, cancer drugs can often prolong life or improve quality of life.
How Cancer Drugs are Given
The majority of cancer drugs are given intravenously (IV) or orally. If given by intravenous this is done by injecting the medication directly into a vein. IV chemotherapy can take 15 minutes to 12 hours or longer. Oral drugs come in the form of pills, capsules or liquid. Less often drugs are given by injections into the muscle or fatty tissue or directly into the spinal fluid that circulates over the brain and spinal cord.
All medicines have side effects but it is hard to know if and when they might occur. Side effects vary depending on the drugs you are taking and how your body reacts to the treatments. Your healthcare team will explain which side effects to report right away and which ones can wait until your next appointment. The individual side effect you may experience will be discussed with you by your healthcare team prior to your treatment.
You can find more information on cancer drugs By visiting the Canadian Cancer Society’s drug information page.
Radiation therapy uses exact, carefully measured doses of radiation (x-rays, gamma rays or electrons) to destroy cancer cells. It stops cells from growing and spreading. Some normal cells can be damaged by the radiation, but most are able to repair more readily than cancer cells.
Radiation therapy is just like having an x-ray taken, except higher doses are used.
How Radiation is Given
Radiation can be given externally or internally. A treatment machine such as a linear accelerator is used to give the external treatment. This treatment is usually given five days a week between Monday and Friday for several days or weeks.
Internal radiation or brachytherapy uses needles, seeds or wires that have a radiation source inside them.
How Long It Takes
The radiation machine is only turned on for a couple of minutes for each treatment. The radiation therapy appointments are about 15 minutes long. It takes this amount of time to make sure that you are in the same position for the treatment as you were when the planning was done for your treatment.
For more information on radiation please click on the link: Carlo Fidani Peel Regional Cancer Centre at Credit Valley Hospital.
Trillium Health Centre oncologists are involved in cancer research through the conduct of clinical trials. Participation in a clinical trial gives people with cancer access to the newest types of treatment. For more information on clinical trials at Trillium, please click here.