All Medical Procedures

Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill fast-growing cells in your body.

Chemotherapy is most often used to treat cancer, since cancer cells grow and multiply much more quickly than most cells in the body.

Many different chemotherapy drugs are available. Chemotherapy drugs can be used alone or in combination to treat a wide variety of cancers.

Though chemotherapy is an effective way to treat many types of cancer, chemotherapy treatment also carries a risk of side effects. Some chemotherapy side effects are mild and treatable, while others can cause serious complications.

Chemotherapy for breast cancer uses powerful drugs to target and destroy breast cancer cells. Chemotherapy for breast cancer frequently is used with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation or hormonal therapy. Combining chemotherapy for breast cancer with other treatments may increase the chance of a cure or decrease the risk of the cancer returning.

If the cancer has recurred or spread, chemotherapy for breast cancer may control the cancer to help you live longer. Or it can help ease symptoms the cancer is causing.

But chemotherapy for breast cancer also carries a risk of side effects — some temporary and mild, others more serious or permanent. Your doctor can help you decide whether chemotherapy for breast cancer is a good choice for you.

Colectomy is a surgical procedure to remove all or part of your colon. Your colon, also called your large intestine, is a long tube-like organ at the end of your digestive system. Colectomy may be necessary to treat or prevent diseases and conditions that affect your colon.

There are various types of colectomy operations:

  • Total colectomy involves removing the entire colon.
  • Partial colectomy involves removing part of the colon and may also be called subtotal colectomy.
  • Hemicolectomy involves removing the right or left portion of the colon.
  • Proctocolectomy involves removing both the colon and rectum.

Colectomy surgery usually requires other procedures to reattach the remaining portions of your digestive system and permit waste to leave your body.

Cryotherapy for prostate cancer freezes prostate tissue, causing cancer cells to die. As a minimally invasive procedure, cryotherapy for prostate cancer is sometimes used as an alternative to surgical removal of the prostate gland (prostatectomy).

In the past, cryotherapy for prostate cancer was associated with significantly higher levels of long-term side effects than were other prostate cancer treatments. Advances in the technology of cryotherapy for prostate cancer have reduced these side effects. Most men, however, still experience long-term sexual dysfunction following cryotherapy for prostate cancer.

Cryotherapy for prostate cancer is most often used in men who have early-stage prostate cancer. But cryotherapy for prostate cancer may also be a treatment option in some men whose prostate cancer has returned following other treatments.

Gastrointestinal endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) is a procedure to remove cancerous or other abnormal tissues (lesions) from the digestive tract.

Endoscopic mucosal resection is performed with a long, narrow tube equipped with a light, video camera and other instruments. During EMR of the upper digestive tract, the tube (endoscope) is passed down your throat to reach an abnormality in your esophagus, stomach or upper part of the small intestine (duodenum).

To remove lesions from the colon, the tube is guided up through the anus.

Primarily a treatment procedure, EMR is also used to collect tissues for diagnosis. If cancer is present, EMR can help determine if the cancer has invaded tissues beneath the digestive tract lining.

External beam radiation for prostate cancer uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. During external beam radiation for prostate cancer, the high-energy beams are generated by a machine called a linear accelerator that aims the beams at your prostate gland.

External beam radiation for prostate cancer kills cancer cells by destroying the genetic material that controls how cells grow and divide. Healthy cells in the beam's path also are affected by external beam radiation therapy, resulting in side effects. The goal of external beam radiation for prostate cancer is to destroy the cancerous cells while sparing as much of the normal surrounding tissue as possible.

External beam radiation for prostate cancer is one of the standard treatment options to treat prostate cancer. It may also be used for men who have prostate cancer that comes back after surgery.

Gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries make changes to your digestive system to help you lose weight by limiting how much you can eat or by reducing the absorption of nutrients, or both. Gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries are done when diet and exercise haven't worked or when you have serious health problems because of your weight.

There are many types of weight-loss surgery, known collectively as bariatric surgery. Gastric bypass is one of the most common types of bariatric surgery in the United States. Many surgeons prefer gastric bypass surgery because it generally has fewer complications than do other weight-loss surgeries.

Still, all forms of weight-loss surgery, including gastric bypass, are major procedures that can pose serious risks and side effects. Also, you must make permanent healthy changes to your diet and get regular exercise to help ensure the long-term success of bariatric surgery.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) test detects the presence of human papillomavirus, a virus that can lead to the development of genital warts, abnormal cervical cells or cervical cancer.

Your doctor might recommend the HPV test if:

  • Your Pap test was abnormal, showing atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS)
  • You're age 30 or older

The HPV test is available only to women; no HPV test yet exists to detect the virus in men. However, men can be infected with HPV and pass the virus along to their sex partners.

Hormone therapy for breast cancer is a treatment for breast cancers that are sensitive to hormones. The most common forms of hormone therapy for breast cancer work by blocking hormones from attaching to cancer cells or by decreasing your body's production of hormones.

Hormone therapy for breast cancer is often used after surgery to reduce the risk that the cancer will return. Hormone therapy for breast cancer may also be used to shrink a tumor before an operation, making it more likely the cancer will be removed completely.

If your cancer has spread to other parts of your body, hormone therapy for breast cancer may help control it.

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer is treatment to stop the male hormone testosterone from reaching the prostate cancer cells in your body. Hormone therapy for prostate cancer is also called androgen deprivation therapy.

Most prostate cancer cells rely on testosterone to help them grow. Hormone therapy for prostate cancer cuts off the supply of testosterone or stops testosterone from reaching the cancer cells, causing cancer cells to die or to grow more slowly.

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer may involve medications, or it can involve surgery to remove the testicles.