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Cancer. The word itself makes many people feel anxious and scared. Receiving a diagnosis of cancer may be overwhelming and make you feel as if you have lost control. Many people first learned what they know about cancer through the experience of a family member or friend. Some of your thoughts about cancer may not be positive. It is important to realize that cancer is not a single disease, but rather many diseases which can start in different types of cells throughout the body. Because of this, other people’s experiences with cancer may not be the same as yours. Many cancers today can be cured with new technologies and advancements in the oncology field. In other cases, treatments may be given that can extend life while maintaining quality of life. The first step to regaining control and alleviating much of your anxiety is to get informed about your cancer. Very few cancers require emergency treatment, so you have time to learn about your diagnosis and treatment options, ask questions about your disease and get a second opinion.

How does cancer start?

Under normal conditions, cell reproduction is carefully regulated by the body. Sometimes the control mechanisms which oversee cell growth can malfunction, resulting in abnormal development of a tumor. The word tumor refers to a mass or lump of overgrown cells that may be non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). If the cells do not have the potential to invade adjacent tissues or spread to distant sites, the tumor is characterized as benign. A malignant tumor is characterized by the cells’ potential to invade and crowd out normal, healthy cells causing damage to adjacent tissues. Cells of malignant tumors may break off and spread through the circulatory or lymphatic systems and implant in other organs and tissues in a process called metastasis. Some types of blood-related cancers do not form tumors, but instead circulate throughout the body.

Chemotherapy and other Systemic Treatments

What is Systemic Treatment?

Systemic treatment is medication used to fight disease throughout a patient’s entire body. Unlike local treatments such as surgery and radiation which target very specific areas, systemic therapies such as cytotoxic chemotherapy, molecularly targeted therapy and hormone or endocrine therapy are used to target cancer cells that may be circulating or which may have implanted in different locations throughout the body. These systemic therapies may be used alone, in combination with one another or alongside other modalities such as surgery and radiation.

How Does a Physician Decide Which Type of Systemic Treatment to Use?

Prior to the initiation of treatment, the medical oncologist will evaluate the characteristics of the patient’s cancer to detect specific cell markers or proteins in the cells. Based on the characteristics of the cells, the physician will design a treatment plan tailored to that particular patient’s cancer.

Experts in Cancer

Our physicians and staff have the expertise, skills and tools to provide state-of-the-art technology and treatment. Our Center offers a comprehensive team approach to treating cancer. All medical oncology cancer care and services a patient needs are located here under one roof: medical oncologist and hematologist, infusion therapy, financial counselors, social work and a nutritionist. Patients can rest assured knowing that we have the support services to help you navigate through the challenges cancer presents.

Integrated Patient Care

We strive to make your appointments as inclusive as possible; no wasted time going back and forth between physician offices. Our care team is available to meet with patients and their families to answer all questions and concerns; from diagnosis, chemotherapy, financial counseling, and social services to nutrition and cancer education.

We Go the Extra Mile for You

Led by specialized physicians, our care team develops individualized treatment plans based on each patient's particular needs. At Star Valley Medical Center we fight cancer every day. We know your health history; we know your treatment plan; we know you. We pledge to you our dedication to providing the best treatment possible for your cancer.

Oncologists and Hematologists:
David Ririe, MD

Learn more about our Infusion Therapy center 

Learn more about chemotherapy 

Learn more about hormone or endocrine therapy