Penn hematologists and medical oncologists are part of large multidisciplinary teams whose approach to cancer and blood disorders is to treat the entire individual — not just the disease.
A hematologist is a physician who specializes in blood diseases and disorders in blood-forming organs. Penn hematologists diagnose and treat patients with blood disorders such as hemophilia, leukemia, platelet disorders and anemia.
A medical oncologist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Penn oncologists work closely with radiation and surgical oncologists to treat cancer patients with medical therapies such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy and bone marrow and stem cell transplants.
Listed below are the clinical treatments provided by physicians within Penn's Hematology/Oncology Division:
- Bone marrow/stem cell transplant
- Hormonal therapy
- Targeted molecular therapy
- Vaccine therapy
These treatments are used alone and in combination in various stages of cancer.
How Hematology/Oncology Treatments are Used
Hematology/oncology therapies can be used in three basic ways:
- Neoadjuvant therapy: Also called induction therapy, refers to chemotherapy or hormone treatments given before surgery, either alone or in combination with radiation.
- Adjuvant therapy: Therapies given after surgery in order to lower the risk that the cancer will come back. Adjuvant therapy may include chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, targeted molecular therapy or immunotherapy.
- Treatment for metastatic disease: Therapies used to treat metastatic disease and designed to ease the symptoms of cancer, but with some exceptions are usually not able to cure the cancer.
All of the therapies listed above are used in the treatment of patients with advanced cancer to lengthen and improve quality of life.