Division of Hematology/Oncology

Treatments

Chemotherapy

Medical oncologists at Penn Medicine are experts in the use of chemotherapy to treat cancer. Penn medical oncologists specialize in bringing a multidisciplinary approach to cancer treatment while applying innovative approaches, including the use of chemotherapy to treat tumors prior to and after surgery.

Chemotherapy is also frequently used to enhance the effectiveness of radiation therapy.

About Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs to attack cancer cells, slowing or stopping their ability to grow and multiply. Chemotherapy is usually given:

  • Orally: taking pills or capsules by mouth
  • Intravenously (IV): injecting medication into a vein
  • Intramuscularly (IM): injecting medication into a muscle
  • Subcutaneously: injecting medication under the skin

Patients may experience side effects from chemotherapy. Learn more about managing side effects from chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy is not a "one-size-fits-all" cancer treatment. The wide range of cancer-fighting drugs attack different types of cancer cells at varying stages of cell development. Penn medical oncologists are experts at determining which drug or combination of drugs will be the most effective in treating the various types of cancer.

For a comprehensive list of most commonly used chemotherapy agents, please visit OncoLink.

The Penn Difference

Penn's multidisciplinary approach to medical treatment helps patients and their families achieve the best survival and quality of life. Medical oncologists at Penn coordinate overall patient care and direct chemotherapy and other related treatments.

Medical oncologists work closely with other cancer specialists such as surgical and radiation oncologists and specialists from other disciplines such as gastroenterologists and pulmonologists to provide comprehensive, integrated care.

Other cancer care team members include:

  • Cardiologists
  • Dermatologists
  • Gastroenterologists
  • Gynecologists
  • Interventional radiologists
  • Nuclear medicine specialists
  • Pathologists
  • Pulmonologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Radiologists
  • Surgeons
  • Urologists

By providing treatments tailored to a patient's particular disease and access to novel drugs for treating cancer, including biological therapies and vaccines, Penn Medicine has more ways to treat cancer and save lives.

Diseases Treated with Chemotherapy

Hematologists/oncologists at Penn Medicine use chemotherapy to treat all types of cancer.

In addition to chemotherapy, Penn medical oncology treatments include:

  • Bone marrow transplant and stem cell therapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted molecular therapy
  • Vaccine therapy

Patients at Penn Medicine also benefit from the expertise and support of the Abramson Cancer Center, a comprehensive cancer center recognized by the National Cancer Institute as "exceptional" that provides cancer patients with specialized treatment and support teams.