Residents diagnosed with cancer may not have to travel far for advanced treatment.
“We have just about everything that Jackson has available as far as medical oncology and targeted therapy,” said John Halbrook, a medical oncologist and chairman of the Anderson Regional Cancer Center’s Cancer Care Committee.
The center is offering new hope to cancer patients through immunotherapy, a cutting-edge therapy believed to be more effective in treating cancer.
“You don’t have to take the medicine by vein. You don’t have to have shots. They’re in oral form,” said Halbrook.
Anderson has over 50 immunotherapies, which work by using a patient’s immune system to find and kill cancer cells.
“They include endothelial growth factor inhibitors which discourages blood vessel growth in the cancer cells and makes the cells die off,” said Halbrook.
But he explained that the treatment is still in its infancy. It has side effects and is oftentimes taken with chemotherapy. Nevertheless, the cancer center is making tremendous strides. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Anderson’s cancer survival rates are among the highest in the southeast United States.
“Our cancer survivor rates, particularly with certain breast cancer cases that are advanced, are in the top five percent in the country. We have better survivals with those difficult patients than just about everybody else,” said Halbrook.
And to see those high survival rates, Halbrook said a group of specialists meet every week, taking a team approach to meet patient’s specific needs.
“We go over their cases and we make recommendations, a consensus will be formed, and we pretty much follow that consensus.”
For more information about immunotherapy, Anderson Regional Cancer Center encourages cancer patients and their families to speak with their doctors.