Treatment Options

Cancer Treatment

The network of care offered by SIH Cancer Institute provides patients the three main components for cancer treatment. Your cancer team may suggest a course of treatment that involves one or more of these therapies:

If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with cancer, your cancer team may suggest a course of treatment that involves one or more of the therapies below.

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy

Within the three categories there are many advanced treatments and technologies that can be used alone or in combination to treat your specific type of cancer.

Through it all there are additional services which can help through the journey.

Surgical Treatment

Cancer-related surgery may be called for a variety of circumstances:

  • curative surgery – when it is likely that all the cancer can be removed
  • diagnostic surgery – when a tissue sample must be removed for analysis
  • staging surgery – to determine the extent of the cancer
  • palliative surgery – to relieve symptoms
  • supportive surgery – to assist with other forms of treatment
  • reconstructive surgery – to improve appearance or function
  • prophylactic surgery – to remove precancerous tissue

Depending on the situation, and with the latest technology and instrumentation, surgery can be handled openly or using minimally invasive measures.

What to Expect

Because anesthesia is required, surgery or minimally-invasive procedures still take place at a Southern Illinois Healthcare hospital or an outpatient surgical facility such as, the Physicians’ Surgery Center at Center for Medical Arts.

Prior to your procedure, you will be asked to come for a Pre-Operative Evaluation and Planning appointment. This team will collect important medical information that is needed by the surgical staff.

A Pre-Operative Evaluation can take anywhere from one to two hours. During this time we will:

  • Collect registration information
  • Take a medical history
  • Evaluate your risk factors
  • Run necessary tests
  • Provide you with instructions for the day of surgery
  • Answer questions
  • Arrange for any further tests that may be necessary

Following the procedure, your surgeon will discuss outcomes and next steps. Your results from surgery are discussed at the next meeting.

Find a Physician for Surgical/Procedural treatments

Surgical Oncology
Colon & Rectal Surgery
Breast Surgery
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery
Interventional Radiology
Ear, Nose & Throat
General Surgery

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is used to destroy cancer cells. It may be used by itself or in combination with cancer-fighting medicines or surgery. For example, radiation may be used to shrink a tumor before surgery so that it can be removed more easily, or it can be used after surgery to destroy remaining cancer cells.

The goal of cancer radiation treatment is to target specific tumors with the exact amount of radiation required, while minimizing damage to normal, healthy tissue.

Radiation therapy is a recognized method of treatment for cancer and is covered by most private insurances.

What to Expect on Your First Visit

Your diagnosing physician will need to refer you for treatment. On your first visit, you will meet the radiation oncologist, who will discuss in detail the entire treatment plan: diagnosis, staging and treatment. It is important that we have your medical records pathology reports and imaging studies available for review at this time.

Remember at this time to tell us if you are pregnant or if you are using a pacemaker, an implanted defibrillator or other electronic equipment.

Take time to write down information during this appointment so that you can refer back to it later. A personal medical journal can help you keep track of:

  • Appointments
  • Notes
  • Symptoms and side effects
  • Lab-test results
  • Medications
What to Expect on Your Second Visit

Treatment simulation and the planning process will begin on the second visit. It will last approximately one hour, during which technicians will simulate the actual treatment, take measurements of your body contours and tailor your radiation shielding. Marks that will be used to guide treatment will be placed on your skin at this time, and we request to not wash them off until advised to do so by our staff.

Normally, treatment begins within five days of simulation; however, urgent radiation treatment can be started on the first visit.

What to Expect on Your Next Visits

You will receive radiation daily, Monday through Friday, for several weeks. The actual treatment takes only about 15 minutes. Our oncology nurse will help you understand the side effects and how your lifestyle may be affected.

No pain or sensation is felt during radiation therapy, and you will not be radioactive as a result of treatment.

Link to Radiation Oncologists Need to reach Radiation Oncology? 618.985.3333 ext 68350

Systemic Treatment

A majority of cancer patients receive some type of systemic treatments in their fight. This may include, but not be limited to:

  • Pre-medications (to reduce side effects)
  • General IV fluids (supportive care)
  • Blood products
  • Hematopoietics (Procrit, Neuprogen, Neulasta)
  • Iron therapy
  • Immune globulin
  • Central line & port-a-cath maintenance/li>
What to Expect

Once a therapy is recommended in the Infusion Center, a chemotherapy nurse will provide necessary education on what to expect, side effects, your schedule and more.

Laboratory testing is very important throughout the treatment process. Labs can be drawn on site and the results are reviewed immediately. Should you have any abnormal counts, your physician may decide to withhold treatment until your values normalize.

Our on-site Pharmacy prepares all the medication needed for treatments in the Infusion Center.

These treatments can mean several hours in the Infusion Center. Our compassionate nurses want to make you as comfortable as possible. Feel free to bring books, magazines, portable electronics or anything to help pass the time. A personal TV is provided along with a beautiful view of the Crab Orchard Wildlife Reserve.

Link to Medical Oncology/Hematology Physicians Need to reach Infusion Services? 618.985.3333 ext 68331

Pre-Treatment Considerations

You and your loved ones are encouraged to take an active role in your care, and make treatment decisions that are best for you. Please consider some key areas before choosing a cancer treatment.


A prognosis is a cancer specialist’s best estimate of how your disease will respond to treatment, and what your life expectancy may be. Your cancer may be discovered in the early stages and require minor treatment. Other cancers may have fewer treatment options, or may be an aggressive cancer with a low survival rate. Talk it over with your family members and your physician. Together you can weigh the options and choose the best approach that fits you.

Cost/Insurance Coverage

Because cancer treatment involves sophisticated techniques, machinery and medicine, it can be very expensive. Some treatments require a hospital stay of one night or more, which adds on to the overall cost. Health insurance and managed care plans rarely cover all the costs of cancer treatment, so it’s important to find out what is and is not covered by your policy. Read more about insurance and billing.

Legal Issues

It is prudent to prepare legal documents that spell out how your cancer treatments and personal affairs should be handled if you become unable to make decisions. Advance directives include documents like living wills, medical power of attorney, and do-not-resuscitate orders. Downloadable forms are available.

If you have questions, please visit our Resource Specialist or call 618.985.3333 ext. 68317.