Medical Oncology

Medical Oncology

Call Shaw Cancer Center at (970) 569-7429 with questions or to schedule an appointment.

Infusion appointments are available Monday-Friday

Shaw Cancer Center's medical oncologists specialize in treating cancer using systemic therapy such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy. Chemotherapy uses medication to destroy cancer cells. Often, it is the only treatment necessary; other times, cancer treatment plans may include chemotherapy plus surgery and/or radiation.

Dr. Alexander Urquhart leads Shaw's medical oncology team and coordinates with surgery and radiation oncology as needed. Dr. Urquhart also treats hematology patients.

Treatments

Chemotherapy drugs are administered either by mouth or through injection. Because the drugs are introduced into the blood stream, cancer drug therapy is considered a body-wide (or systemic) treatment option. Chemotherapy drug treatments are often accompanied by side effects like hair loss, nausea and fatigue. The side effects vary based on the type of drugs being used, and from individual to individual. Newer drugs are targeting the cancerous cells more efficiently, and may come with fewer side effects.

immunotherapy (biologic therapy) is a treatment using medication designed to boost the body's natural defenses to fight cancer. It uses materials made by the body or in a laboratory to boost, target or restore a person's immune system. The immune system is a network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to protect the body from infection. Certain types of immunotherapy, attack cancer or slow its spread to other parts of the body. Other types make is easier for the immune system to destroy cancer cells. Your doctor may recommend immunotherapy after or at the same time as another treatment, such as chemotherapy. Or immunotherapy may be used by itself. The physicians and team at Shaw work together to determine what the right treatment is for each individual and monitor patients closely through treatment.  

In certain types of cancers (some breast and prostate cancers), tumor growth can be stimulated by hormones that naturally occur in the body such as estrogen and progesterone in women and testosterone in men.  Anti-hormonal therapy involves medications, often in the form of an injection, that are given to block hormone production in the body in order to stop the growth of tumors and also to help decrease the chance of a cancer recurrence.  Anti-hormonal therapy can be given alone or in addition to other forms of treatment including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.  Our physicians determine if a patient may benefit from anti-hormonal therapy typically at the time of a cancer diagnosis. 
 
Shaw Cancer Center is a service of Vail Health Hospital.

Meet the Team