Cancer Treatments

After receiving a diagnosis of cancer, you may be anxious. That’s why we put you at the center of everything we do. We want you to feel informed and confident about your care. We discuss all your options with you, including the risks, benefits and side effects of each treatment.

We use advanced treatment techniques, including robotic surgery, targeted radiation therapy and innovative medical approaches, such as personalized medicine and immunotherapy. You also have access to a wide range of clinical trials. Together, we will tailor a course of action that has your individual needs in mind.

Cancer Treatment: Why Choose Vanderbilt-Ingram?

Just as each patient is unique, so is each cancer treatment plan. We find the treatment solution that is best for your specific condition and needs. At Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, you will find:

  • Expert, caring staff: Our cancer care team has treated thousands of patients. Research shows that receiving care at a high-volume cancer center leads to better results, because the staff is experienced and skilled at what they do.
  • Advanced technology: Breakthroughs in immunotherapy, intricate surgeries, targeted medical oncology, precise radiation therapy: We use some of the most sophisticated treatments available.
  • Treatment for all cancer types: Our cancer teams have the expertise, skill and experience to provide effective treatment for all cancer types, from common tumors to rare cancers. A doctor who specializes in the type of cancer you have will lead your care team.
  • Tumor boards: For especially complex cancer types, our tumor boards meet regularly to make care recommendations. At these cancer care meetings, cancer experts discuss complex cases individually. Together, some of the nation’s leading cancer experts across medical disciplines collaborate on developing a treatment plan.
  • Collaborative care: At Vanderbilt, you don’t have one doctor – you have an entire cancer care team. The most effective care plan comes from specialists in different areas working together and sharing their expertise. For example, our cancer surgeons work with medical oncologists and radiation therapists to develop care plans that meet each patient’s needs.
  • Support services: We offer many support services to care for your body, mind and spirit during treatment and survivorship.

Cancer Treatments We Provide

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Clinical trials
  • Precision medicine
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy

Surgery for cancer

Surgery is often a cornerstone of treatment. We provide intricate surgical procedures for all types of cancer. Our advanced surgical techniques include:

  • Minimally invasive surgery: Using smaller incisions than a traditional surgery, this approach typically offers a more precise procedure and an easier recovery. Laparoscopic surgery and robotic-assisted surgery are two types of minimally invasive surgery.
  • Complex procedures: We work with other specialists, such as pulmonary (lung) experts, cardiologists and gastrointestinal specialists to ensure a safe, effective procedure for even the most complex tumor.
  • Innovative technology: We use advanced treatment technology to help you have a full life after your treatments are completed. For example, nerve-sparing surgical techniques can help preserve your function and quality of life.

Find out more about our approach to surgery for cancer.

Medical oncology

Medical oncology refers to medications that destroy cancer cells. These therapies are often taken either orally or through a vein (intravenously). They may cause unpleasant side effects, but our team will give you strategies to prevent and manage these symptoms so you feel your best. Medical oncology includes:

  • Chemotherapy: Drugs that destroy cancer cells
  • Hormone therapy: Medications to stop or slow the growth of certain cancers that need hormones to grow
  • Targeted therapy: Drugs and substances that target specific molecules on the cancer cells to stop the growth of the cells

We offer infusion services at multiple locations with some evening hours available at certain facilities. You can visit the location that’s closest to you. Learn more about chemotherapy.

Clinical trials

Clinical trials test the latest approaches under investigation, before they are available to the general public. These trials may offer an important option for you to consider. We encourage you to ask your doctor if a clinical trial may be right for you.

Vanderbilt-Ingram offers clinical trials for all cancers, at all stages, including a robust Phase I clinical trial program. Clinical trials may offer options for patients for whom no standard of care is available. Read more about clinical trials at Vanderbilt-Ingram.

Precision medicine

Precision medicine uses changes in the tumor’s DNA to tell whether a certain treatment will work for you. We can also use the genetic information to rule out treatments that are not likely to work, sparing you unnecessary treatments.

Vanderbilt-Ingram is leading the field of precision medicine. We originated the My Cancer Genome program, a knowledge resource of genetic tumor abnormalities and matching treatments. Learn more about our innovations in precision medicine.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses precisely shaped radiation beams to target a tumor and destroy the cancer. We use sophisticated technology that allows us to pinpoint the tumor without harming surrounding healthy tissue. Some of our advanced radiation therapy methods shorten treatment time so there is minimal disruption to your life.

We offer both external beam radiation therapy (a machine delivers a beam of radiation to the tumor) as well as brachytherapy (placing a radioactive seed next to the tumor). Learn more about radiation therapy at Vanderbilt-Ingram.

Immunotherapy

This treatment uses the power of your own immune system to fight cancer. Immunotherapy “teaches” your immune system cells to recognize and destroy cancer cells.

Vanderbilt-Ingram is leading innovations in immunotherapy. One of our patients was the first in Tennessee to undergo an advanced immunotherapy treatment to successfully treat lymphoma. Read more about immunotherapy.

Health and wellness

We believe that the more you know about your condition and treatment options, the more confident you can be in your healthcare decisions. We routinely offer lectures for patients, inviting experts from our Osher Center for Integrative Medicine to discuss wellness techniques.

You may want to know what the treatment will be like, if you’ll experience side effects and how long the recovery will last. We encourage you to ask the questions on your mind and get the answers you need.

For Referring Physicians

We work with providers around the country to deliver comprehensive, effective cancer care to their patients. Our team collaborates and consults with referring physicians before, during and after treatment. Together, we help your patients get the appropriate care they need.

To arrange a consultation or make a referral, call us at (615) 343-3700 or complete our online referral form.