Cancer Treatments for All Cancer Types

Medical, surgical and radiation oncologists at Catholic Health Cancer Institutes across Long Island work together to develop a customized treatment plan tailored to the specific needs of your cancer type and stage. We listen closely to your preferences and ensure you have an active role in decisions about your care.

Cancer Treatments

da vinci surgery

Chemotherapy uses chemicals to weaken and destroy cancer cells. It affects cells in the area where your cancer began and cancer cells that spread to other parts of your body. Chemotherapy can be used on its own or in combination with other treatments such as surgery or radiation. It can be administered in several ways, including infusion, pills, shots, creams or medication.

Chemotherapy has the following benefits:

  • Eases your current symptoms
  • Kills hidden cancer cells that remain after surgery or other treatment
  • Lowers the potential that your cancer will spread
  • Reduces the number of cancer cells in your body
  • Shrinks tumor size to prepare you for further treatment such as radiation or surgery

Hormone therapy slows or stops the growth of cancer cells that use hormones to grow and multiply. There are two main types of hormonal cancer treatment. One blocks your body’s ability to produce hormones. The other interferes with how hormones affect your body.

Hormone therapy is primarily used to treat prostate cancer and breast cancer. It is most often used in addition to other cancer treatments.

Hormone therapy can provide the following benefits:

  • Destroys cancer cells that spread to other parts of your body
  • Lowers the risk that your cancer will return
  • Reduces the size of tumors before radiation treatment or surgery
  • Relieves current symptoms
  • Slows the growth of cancer cells

Immunotherapy increases your immune system’s ability to fight cancer. Your immune system protects your body from disease and infection when functioning correctly. It detects and eliminates abnormal cells to prevent or slow cancer cell growth. When you have cancer, your immune system doesn’t always recognize the cancerous cells. This allows them to grow and multiply. Immunotherapy improves your immune system’s ability to detect and destroy cancer cells. It is often used in addition to other cancer treatments.

Immunotherapy can provide the following benefits:

  • Fewer side effects than traditional cancer treatment
  • Improves your body’s ability to recognize and eliminate cancer cells
  • May replace chemotherapy
  • Prevents the spread of cancer cells
  • Provides effective treatment options when others are unsuccessful
  • Slows or stops cancer cell growth

Treatment of prostate cancer may require surgery to remove your prostate gland and the lymph nodes nearby. Catholic Health offers minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery using the da Vinci robot system.

Radiation Therapies

Radiation therapy uses high doses of radiation to destroy cancer cells and prevent their spread. Radiation may be delivered externally using advanced technology or internally through a radioactive substance inserted into your body. Radiation may be used in combination with other treatments such as chemotherapy or surgery.

Catholic Health offers a full spectrum of radiation therapies.

  • 3D conformal radiation—conforms radiation beams to match your tumor's shape and size for precise targeting.
  • Accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI)—involves a smaller treatment area and shorter treatment course than other types of radiation therapy.
  • Brachytherapy—internal radiation treatment in which radiation is placed directly on or near the tumor, often during prostate cancer care.
  • Electron beam radiation therapy—uses high-energy radiation beams to eliminate cancer cells.
  • Fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy—uses precise positioning and delivery to aim radiation from multiple angles on tumors located in sensitive areas of your body.
  • Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)—incorporates imaging techniques to treat cancers and tumors near sensitive organs and body parts.
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)—uses advanced technology to manipulate radiation beams to conform to the shape of your tumor.
  • Radioisotope therapy—a liquid form of radiation that’s administered through injection or infusion.
  • Surface-guided radiation therapy (SGRT)—uses an advanced technology called an Optical Surface Monitoring System (OSMS) to provide pinpoint accuracy with greater speed and precision.
  • Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT)—precisely delivers radiation to only the intended area to spare.

Radiation therapy can provide the following benefits:

  • Alleviates cancer symptoms
  • Destroys cancer cells and slows or stops their growth
  • Prevents cancer from returning
  • Shrinks tumors and reduces the pain they cause

Stereotactic radiosurgery is a procedure that delivers high doses of radiation to cancer cells. Catholic Health offers Varian TrueBeam® for stereotactic radiosurgery. Varian TrueBeam® is an advanced technology that allows your physician to focus the radiation on cancerous tumors with accuracy and precision.

During treatment, the TrueBeam rotates around your body to deliver a prescribed radiation dose from nearly any angle. The radiation beam can be shaped to match your tumor. This reduces the damage to any nearby healthy tissue. The process is effective using 25% less radiation than other radiation treatments and is faster to complete.

When compared to other methods of stereotactic radiosurgery, Varian TrueBeam® provides the following benefits:

  • High-resolution, real-time imaging provides precise targeting of cancer cells.
  • Radiation beam delivery can be timed to correspond with your breathing. This helps maintain accuracy when movement can be an issue, such as during lung cancer treatment.
  • Treatment can be completed in as few as five sessions lasting about 15 minutes each. Some treatments take as little as two minutes to perform.
  • Varian TrueBeam® detects cancer cells without metallic markers or trackers inserted into the treatment area.

Varian TrueBeam® is offered at Good Samaritan Hospital (West Islip, NY) and St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® (Roslyn, NY).

Catholic Health offers radiosurgery using Varian Edge®. Radiosurgery uses focused beams of radiation to shrink and kill cancer cells. Although it is called surgery, the procedure does not require an incision. It typically takes one to five sessions over the course of one week. Varian Edge® technology allows your physician to deliver precise doses of radiation exactly where it’s needed. This process is faster than more traditional treatment and does less damage to healthy tissues.

When compared to traditional radiation treatments, Varian Edge® radiosurgery provides the following benefits:

  • Better visibility allows more precise placement of radiation.
  • Faster process takes less time to complete.
  • Highly targeted placement of radiation reduces damage to healthy tissues surrounding cancer cells.
  • No incisions and no hospital stay are required.
  • Quicker recovery with a lower chance of side effects.
  • Rapid return to regular activity.
  • Real-time tracking capabilities improve the efficiency and precision of your treatments.

Varian Edge® is offered at Good Samaritan Hospital (West Islip, NY).

Healing Your Body and Mind

Catholic Health's cancer care team knows that cancer treatments can take a toll on both your body and mind. Our compassionate experts include infusion/chemotherapy nurses and board-certified radiation oncologists who comfort and put you at ease during treatments, procedures and exams.

Nutritionists are available to help if you have a loss of appetite or need a new diet to help you build strength. Our social workers and spiritual care staff offer emotional support for you and your loved ones.

Catholic Health's multidisciplinary approach gives you access to specialists who can help heal your body during and after cancer treatments, including:

Cardio-oncology—one of the few programs of its kind on Long Island. St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® cardio-oncologists monitor cardiovascular toxicity that can result from some cancer treatments.

Lymphedema therapy—seen in cancer survivors after treatment or lymph node removal surgery. St. Charles Hospital's physical therapists safely and effectively lower the associated risk factors.

Wound care—radiation treatments for cancer can result in wounds to the body, including radiation proctitis. Catholic Health Wound Care Centers across Long Island successfully treat cancer-related wounds.

Clinical Excellence. Compassionate Care.

Cancer Services

Diagnosis and treatment for all types and stages of cancer.

Catholic Health Cancer Care Team

Board-certified oncologists and a supporting team of cancer specialists.

Catholic Health Cancer Institutes

Comprehensive cancer services at locations across Long Island.