Cancer Treatments

Cancer occurs when the genetic material in your cells changes or is damaged and grows abnormally. Your cancer is unlike anyone else’s. Your cancer care team at New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) Zimmer Cancer Center develops a treatment plan to meet your unique needs.

Which Treatments You Will Have

TEST Zimmer Cancer CenterThe treatments your NHRMC cancer care team recommend depend on factors including your overall health, the stage of your cancer, how much your cancer has spread, and your individual wishes. We provide complete cancer care. If your cancer might be best treated with a specialized service we do not offer, we will help you find a center that does and will work with doctors there to coordinate your care.

During your treatment and recovery, you may benefit from physical rehabilitation to improve strength and function. 

Treatment options for cancer at NHRMC include:

Surgery

Your cancer treatment may involve surgery to remove all or part of tumors. You always want your cancer surgery to be as precise and minimally invasive as possible – even more so when it is a gynecologic procedure. You also may have a minor surgical procedure to take a piece of a tumor (biopsy). This is done to allow your cancer care team to examine it and determine the type of cancer. Surgeons at NHRMC Zimmer Cancer Center are experts in all types of cancer surgery, including minimally invasive.

Our surgeons use robotic technologies whenever possible. Robotic surgery is precise and minimally invasive so you can get back to normal – and get back home – more quickly.

Where You Have Surgery

Surgery at NHRMC takes place in the NHRMC Surgical Pavilion. This center offers the most advanced surgical options, including the Robotic Surgical System®da Vinci .

The da Vinci System is particularly useful for minimally invasive gynecological cancer and prostate cancer surgeries.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy at NHRMC Zimmer Cancer Center can be given:

  • Orally – pills you take by mouth
  • Intravenously (IV) – through a vein
  • By injection – a shot

How Often You Have Chemotherapy

How often you have chemotherapy depends on your cancer and treatment plan. It can be daily, weekly, or monthly.

If your chemotherapy is through an IV, a treatment session can take hours. A member of your care team will tell you how long to expect a treatment to last.

Where You Have Chemotherapy

If your chemotherapy is intravenous (IV), you will receive it at the Chemotherapy Suite at the Zimmer Cancer Center. The chemotherapy care team helps patients just like you every day and is attentive to your special concerns and needs.

The Chemotherapy Suite is a welcoming environment for you and loved ones who accompany you to appointments.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy kills cancer cells with high-energy rays. It is an important cancer treatment, and you may have it alone or in combination with other treatments at NHRMC Zimmer Cancer Center.

How Radiation Therapy Is Delivered

Radiation can be delivered from outside your body from a machine. An example is intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).

Radiation therapy also can be delivered from inside your body through radioactive material placed near your cancer cells. An example is brachytherapy, in which tiny radioactive seeds are implanted near cancer cells to deliver concentrated doses of radiation to a specific area.

How Often You Have It

Your cancer care team develops a treatment plan just for you, detailing how often you need radiation therapy. The schedule depends on the size and extent of your cancer and your overall health. Some radiation therapy schedules involve daily treatment over weeks. Each treatment may last only minutes.

Selective Internal Radiation Therapy for Advanced Liver Cancer

NHRMC Zimmer Cancer Center offers a newer radiation therapy procedure for advanced liver cancer. Selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT) is more effective at destroying cancer cells while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue than conventional chemotherapy. You may have SIRT to shrink your liver tumor enough that it can be removed with surgery.

Selective internal radiation therapy is minimally invasive. Your doctor makes a small incision in your upper thigh and threads a thin tube through your blood vessels to the major artery to your liver. Through the tube, your doctor releases millions of microscopic radioactive spheres. These spheres get trapped in the tiny blood vessels inside your liver tumor and give off radiation to destroy the tumor from within your body.

You have a PET/CT scan before and after SIRT to determine if the treatment helped to shrink your tumor enough to remove it surgically.

Clinical Trials

Your doctor may talk to you about a clinical trial, or you may learn about one on your own. Some people hope the trial will help their cancer. Others want to be involved in helping to develop new cancer treatments and enjoy knowing they may help others down the line.