The evolution of cancer treatment over the last 40 years has resulted in better outcomes for patients; today more people are living with cancer than ever before.
Cancer is an illness unlike any other. Many people mistakenly believe that cancer refers to one disease that occurs in many different parts of the body, but, in reality, cancer is not just one disease. The term “cancer” is the general name for a group of over 100 diseases in which abnormal cells begin to grow uncontrollably. No matter what type it is, cancer is the result of a malfunction in the genetic mechanisms that control and regulate cell growth. Cancer can affect blood, bones and over 60 different organs of the human body.
Through research, we have learned that each person’s cancer is actually a unique disease because every tumor or malignancy has its own distinctive DNA. This discovery has resulted in many new and highly-effective targeted treatments and immunotherapies that are based on a patient’s unique genetic profile. Genetic sequencing of a patient’s tumor can help identify which drugs or treatments will be most effective for that individual.
DAMAGE TO DNA CAN RESULT IN CANCER
DNA is the genetic material that makes up every cell. When DNA becomes damaged or changed, it produces mutations in genes that affect normal cell growth and division. Gene mutations can be inherited from a parent, or, more commonly, acquired during a person’s lifetime due to environmental factors, such as ultraviolet radiation from the sun or cigarette smoking. Other mutations occur for still unknown reasons, resulting in various types of cancer.
In addition to unregulated cell growth, when a cancer occurs it means there is also a failure in the immune system’s ability to recognize these abnormal cells and destroy them. When normal cells become old or damaged, they die and are replaced with new cells. However, the growth of cancer cells is different from normal cell growth. Instead of dying, cancer cells continue to grow and form more abnormal cells. Cancer cells can also invade other tissues, something that normal cells cannot do.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS CANCER TREATMENT TODAY?
There have been remarkable advances in the treatment of cancer, especially over the past two decades. Today, millions of people are surviving cancer and most oncologists feel that cancer is becoming more like a chronic disease, such as diabetes or hypertension. In other words, even though no cure has been found yet, the disease is something that can be managed and people can live with cancer for many years.
Early detection and diagnosis, as well as advances, such as immunotherapy and targeted treatments, most of which are available in pill form, are making it possible to live with cancer and continue to have a good quality of life. Some of these newer treatments have actually produced virtual cures for many types of cancer.
WORLD-CLASS CANCER CARE CLOSE TO HOME
Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) has put together a network of expert, board-certified physicians who bring world‐class cancer treatments to local communities, both large and small, across the state. With nearly 100 locations, FCS is the largest independent oncology/hematology group in the United States. That status puts the practice on the leading edge of clinical trial research and gives FCS physicians access to the newest, most innovative treatments.
CLINICAL TRIALS LEAD TO TOMORROW’S TREATMENTS AND CURES
Through a strategic partnership with Sarah Cannon, one of the world’s leading clinical trial organizations, FCS offers more access to national clinical trials than any other oncology practice in Florida. In 2016, 84% of all new cancer drugs were studied in clinical trials with FCS participation, prior to approval.
In addition to a robust clinical research program, Florida Cancer Specialists offers a number of services, such as an in-house specialty pharmacy, an in-house hematopathology lab and financial counselors at every location. Patients can now receive the most advanced care, including immunotherapies, chemotherapy, targeted treatments and cutting-edge, precision technologies, at the same location where they see their oncologist and get their lab tests done, not only increasing convenience for patients, but also improving their quality of life.
1630 SE 18th St.
Ocala, FL 34471
4600 SW 46th Court
Building 200, Suite 330
Ocala, FL 34474