Oncology and Hematology at Summit Health provides patients with access to expert cancer care. Oncology is the science of cancer treatment. Hematology is the science of medicine that deals with blood diseases.
Our Oncologists and Hematologists
Our Physicians are board certified in both medical oncology and hematology and have expertise in all aspects of cancer care. They work collaboratively as part of a multidisciplinary team tailored to each disease that includes surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and gynecologic oncologists. This integrated approach is facilitated by Disease Site Specific Tumor Boards which meet regularly to discuss cancer cases, share knowledge and formulate an individual treatment plan for each patient.
What is Medical Oncology?
Medical Oncology is the field of medicine dedicated to diagnosing and treating cancer. Whether it be to provide a cure or to extend and improve the quality of one’s life, a medical oncologist will help cancer patients through their diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.
Some cancers can be treated with medication alone, while others may be combined with radiation therapy or used before or after radiation or surgery. Medical oncologists work closely with surgeons, radiation oncologists, and other specialists to provide the most comprehensive and effective cancer treatment possible. A medical oncologist will create an appropriate plan of care by considering your cancer type and stage, as well as your personal needs and goals.
Your medical oncologist may suggest treatments that include drugs such as:
- Chemotherapy: A class of drugs intended to attack cancer cells to prevent cancer from returning after surgery, or to prolong life in the case of patients whose cancer has already spread.
- Hormone Therapy: Medicines that block signals in the body that promote the growth of prostate cancer.
- Immunotherapy: An antibody-based treatment that recruits the immune system to attach cancer cells.
- Targeted Therapy: A type of cancer treatment that targets proteins in the cancer that control the growth, division, and spread of cancer cells.
The goal of medical oncology is not just to shrink the cancer, but also to decrease the risk of complications from it and to help patients live as long as possible with a high quality of life.
A Comprehensive Cancer Care Team
Our connected care philosophy pulls a team of highly respected, caring physicians that utilizes the latest diagnostic procedures, which is then reviewed by our expert oncologists who will determine the best course of treatment for you. Our highly advanced treatment options include removal of or monitoring benign tumors, state-of-the-art radiation therapy, chemotherapy, robotic surgery, as well as immunotherapy and various clinical trials.
In addition, our physicians can help manage pain as well as the psychological effects of cancer. We partner with your primary care physician and specialists, including pain management, palliative care, and behavioral health colleagues who help with symptom management as well as the psychological effects of cancer.
What is Cancer?
According to the American Cancer Society, 50% of men and 33% of women in the United States develop cancer at some point in their lives. This means that millions of people in the United States have had or currently have cancer. Cancer is the name for a group of diseases that involve the growth of abnormal cells with damaged DNA. While normal cells never infiltrate other areas of the body, cancer cells can sometimes grow into other tissues and spread to other parts of the body. There are more than 100 different types of cancer.
In some cases, abnormal cells create a tumor; but in some types of cancer such as leukemia, the abnormal cells circulate through the blood and spread to other parts of the body. When cancer spreads through the blood cell growth, it is called metastasis.
Some cancers can result from genetic causes, whereas others may result from environmental or behavioral factors such as cigarette smoking. Doctors do not yet know what causes all types of cancer.
Sometimes tumors develop that do not contain cancer cells. These tumors are called benign tumors.
Cancer is usually diagnosed through laboratory tests that analyze tissue, blood, and urine. If a tumor is found, a small amount of tissue or cells may be taken from the affected area for lab analysis. This process is called a biopsy.
If a cancer is found, one or more of our team Medical, Surgical, Radiology, and GYN oncologists will work together to an oncologist at Summit Health will determine the best course of treatment for you. Your treatment will depend on the type of cancer you have and how far it has progressed. Cancers are given numbered stages, which characterize severity of the disease. Stage 1, for example, is the beginning stage of cancer, whereas Stage 4 is advanced cancer.
If you need surgery for cancer, your doctor will refer you to Summit Health Surgical Oncology.
To find out more about skin cancer, please visit Summit Health Dermatology.
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I can never say enough about Dr. Papish and your staff. I am a 3 time cancer survivor. I have known Dr. Papish since 1996. I was pleased with everything since my mammogram found my lump.