Hematology & Oncology Associates of Alabama’s physicians specialize in medical oncology and hematology. Each physician is board certified in internal medicine, hematology and medical oncology. Cancer treatments often require treatment by multiple physicians in different specialties. While we specialize in medical oncology, we work closely with specialists in other areas, including surgery and radiation oncology to help coordinate an optimal treatment plan. Our office offers a large amount of patient support, easy access to triage for problems, timely appointments with flexible scheduling, financial advisors and more within our clinic. We believe we provide unparalleled access to start of the art cancer treatment combined with accessible personalized care.
- Medical oncology: treatment of cancer with medicine that specifically targets cancer cells. This includes multiple types of therapy that we explain below.
- Hematology: Study of blood and diseases of the blood and immune system. Treats both noncancerous blood disorders such as anemia, low white cells or platelets, elevated counts, immune dysfunction and clotting disorders.
Each cancer or blood disorder is unique. Requires approaching each patient differently. We believe it is important to specifically understand each patient and his or her disease in order to determine optimal care. Each treatment decision must take into account the severity or stage of disease, a patient’s overall health, a patient’s lifestyle and any unique preferences they possess. At HOAA, we have a large, collaborative team to help each patient get through the treatment of their disease. We believe that a patient needs to understand their disease and we work to help them and their family to feel comfortable in making decision throughout their care.
Our doctors see patients at Brookwood Hospital as well as Coosa Valley Hospital. Cancer treatments are given at our clinic at both locations. We also see patients in clinic up in Fultondale, although we do not give chemotherapy treatments there.
Cancer is basically an uncontrolled growth of cells due to different mutations that lead to cell division and growth. Cancers can either be localized to one area of the body or they can have spread to multiple areas. There are many different types of ways to treat cancer. Below is some basic information about the different types of systemic therapy that can kill cancers cells throughout the body. There are many medications within each class specific to each cancer and both our physicians and our nurses will give specific treatment information about each therapy before it is given.
There are many types of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy works throughout the body by targeting dividing cancer cells and destroying them. Cancer cells undergo cell division and growth much more rapidly than normal cells, so by targeting cell division, we hope to kill cancer cells without killing many normal cells. Different types of chemotherapy are designed to target different growth patterns specific to cancer cells. Therefore, each chemotherapy regimen is unique based on patient’s type of cancer, stage, patient’s health and lifestyle.
Chemotherapy is administered in different ways. It is most commonly given through an IV but sometimes it is given as a shot or a pill. We administer chemotherapy infusion in our office’s infusion suite.
Chemotherapy frequency varies based on the type of chemotherapy and the cancer we are treating. Usually, chemotherapy is structured in cycles with “chemo days” and rest periods in between. Chemotherapy works by killing actively dividing cells. Unfortunately, it often kills “normal active cells” as well that can lead to side effects. Among the most common are nausea/vomiting, low blood counts, fatigue, hair loss. These side effects vary depending on the chemotherapy. We have an excellent team of doctors, hall nurses, infusion nurses who help develop a chemotherapy regimen, educate patient and family and who are available 24/7 to help address any problems.
May developments recently in cancer care are linked to our ability to find specific protein or DNA mutations that are specific to cancer cells that cancer cells depend on to grow and spread. Once we know what the cancer is needing to grow, we can develop “targets” with specific medications to try and block that pathway of growth. By targeting specific molecular changes to the cancer, therapies are often less harmful to normal cells and therefore often have less side effects and sometimes are even more effective than normal chemotherapy. Sometimes we combine targeted therapies with chemotherapy for enhanced cancer killing.
Both prostate cancer and breast cancer often thrive on naturally occurring hormones (testosterone in males and estrogen or progesterone in females) that stimulate a cancer to grow. Therefore, treatments that block hormone production or utilization can be an effective way to fight these cancer cells. Hormonal therapy is a systemic treatment that can fight cancer cells throughout the body.
The immune system is an important surveillance mechanism that has been set up to look out for abnormal cells or organisms, including cancer cells. If the immune system identifies cancer cells as abnormal, then it can signal to other immune cells to kill these abnormal cells. Immunotherapy works to activate or overstimulate the immune system to identify specific abnormal cancer cells more effective and leads to the destruction of cancer cells.
HOAA Mission Statement
The mission of HOAA is to provide our patients with compassionate, comprehensive, and high-quality care in a timely manner. We focus our efforts on all of our patients’ needs-physical, social, economic, and spiritual-to enable them to live life to the fullest. At HOAA, we are concerned about your illness and your life. We know the quality of your life is directly related to the quality and level of medical care you receive. Our practice and every member of our staff exist to provide the very best treatment possible for your particular diagnosis. We will aggressively fight your illness while providing compassionate care that equips you to live your life to the fullest. We take our role in your whole well-being as seriously as we take our role in fighting your disease.
All of our doctors are board certified in Medical Oncology and Hematology, specializing in the treatment of all types of cancers and blood disorders.