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Medical Oncology

Are you looking up medical oncology for yourself or maybe for a loved one? Oncology is the study, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Medical oncology means treating cancer with powerful medicines like chemotherapy, immunotherapy or targeted therapy. Medical oncologists often treat hematology disorders, too. PeaceHealth offers advanced medical oncology close to your home, plus many related services to support you and your family. 

Who needs medical oncology?

Chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy are common medical treatments for cancer. If you have cancer, you and your doctor might decide that one or more of these treatments are right for you. They can be used alone or with other cancer treatments like radiation and surgery. 

For most people, a medical oncologist serves as their main cancer doctor. This type of provider has deep knowledge of the different medicines used to treat cancer.

Your care team may also include:

  • Radiation oncologists to provide radiation treatment
  • Infusion specialists to help with medication delivery 
  • Pharmacists with extra training in cancer medications
  • Physician assistants or advance practice nurse practitioners who specialize in cancer care
  • A nurse navigator or care coordinator to help you plan and prepare for appointments
  • Other caregivers depending on your diagnosis and personal needs

They’re all part of one team devoted to your health and well-being. 

Medical oncology at a glance

What are oncology medicines?

PeaceHealth offers access to advanced medical oncology treatments. Here are the main types:

  • Chemotherapy: This group of medicines damages cancer cells, shrinks tumors and slows cancer’s growth. There are more than 100 types of chemo medications. You and your medical oncologist will work together to choose the ones that fit your needs.
  • Hormone therapy: This treatment uses special hormones to stop or slow the growth of cancer. Hormone therapy is most often used for breast and prostate cancer.
  • Immunotherapy: This kind of medicine boosts your body’s own natural defenses against cancer.
  • Targeted therapy: This newer kind of treatment targets the proteins that control cancer cells. It interrupts cancer cells’ ability to grow and spread.  
What to expect at PeaceHealth

Your care includes more than doctor appointments and medical treatments. At PeaceHealth you’ll find:

  • A whole-person approach that includes many kinds of services.
  • Passionate providers you will get to know and trust.
  • Shared decision-making, so you and your family can get your needs met.
  • Cancer centers close to where you live, so you don’t have to go far for great care.

As you start treatment, your team focuses on stopping the cancer. You’ll have access to advanced technology and expert providers who understand the latest treatment techniques. At the same time, we never forget about the person at the center of it all: you. Here’s what to expect:

  • Preparing for treatment: Your medical oncologist and nurse navigator or care coordinator will explain what to expect, including risks and benefits. You’ll be able to get your questions answered, voice any concerns and ask for help if you need it.
  • During treatment: Most people get several doses of cancer medicine over a period of weeks. Your schedule and medication type will depend on your personal situation. Some people get infusion treatments. This means the medicine is sent directly into your veins through an IV (intravenous) drip. Pills, shots and creams are also common ways to deliver treatment.
  • Infusion centers: If you come in for IV infusions, our specialists will do all they can to make you comfortable. Our centers are warm, safe spaces where you can relax while receiving your treatment. We offer snacks, cozy blankets and caring company. Your loved ones are welcome, too.
  • Help with side effects: Cancer medicines have the power to be lifesaving, but they sometimes cause side effects like nausea or hair loss. Your care team can help you manage side effects and feel as good as possible.  
Why choose PeaceHealth

PeaceHealth cancer care is fully integrated for the best results. What does that mean? Your medical oncology specialists will work closely with the rest of your cancer care team, and with you and your family. Together, we’ll make sure you have access to all the treatments and services you need. Many of these services are available under one roof.

PeaceHealth offers:

  • Whole-person care: Our approach goes beyond medical treatments. If you need a social worker, family counseling, nutrition advice, financial aid or spiritual guidance, you’ll find many skilled, compassionate caregivers ready to help.
  • Nurse navigators/care coordinators: Your care team includes a nurse dedicated to answering your questions, helping with scheduling and being your advocate throughout your treatment.
  • Support services: PeaceHealth gives you access to services that make life a little easier during cancer treatment. This includes complementary care such as yoga, nutrition classes, support groups, advanced care planning and survivorship classes. We also have a wig and hat bank to help you manage hair loss, a common side effect of chemotherapy treatment.
  • Continuing care: You may choose to do rehab, physical therapy or reconstructive surgery with us as part of your care. Regular cancer screenings and follow-ups are important, too. 


Next steps

If you or a loved one needs medical oncology treatment, you have a lot to consider. Now is a time you might want extra support from friends, family — and healthcare professionals.

To learn more, contact a cancer center near you, research PeaceHealth cancer specialists or visit our health information library. 

All Medical Oncology Locations