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San Cancer Services

Treatment options

Care that’s tailored to your needs

Cancer can require medical treatments, surgical treatments or a combination of both. Medical treatments include chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as newer therapy options such as interventional radiology and immunotherapy. Surgical treatments may be used to prevent, diagnose and / or remove cancer, relieve symptoms, reduce the risk of recurrence, and in support of other treatments. Your cancer specialist, together with your multidisciplinary team (MDT), will work out the most effective treatment plan for you and your cancer.

Medical treatments


Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to treat cancer. While surgery and radiation therapy remove, kill, or damage cancer cells in a certain area, chemotherapy can work throughout the whole body, meaning it can kill cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body, away from the site of the original cancer.

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Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, is the use of radiation to safely treat and manage cancer with the aim to eradicate cancer cells, reduce tumour growth or relieve symptoms.

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Interventional radiology

Interventional Radiology uses image-guidance through x-ray, ultrasound, CT, MRI and fluoroscopy to perform minimally invasive procedures to treat cancer. Our doctors use tools such as catheters and needles to treat conditions that would have required surgery in the past, and to directly target cancer treatment procedures.

Dr Eisen Liang and his team from Sydney Interventional Radiology are located in San Clinic, making access to these treatments easy.


Immunotherapy is treatment that uses your body's own immune system to help fight cancer. Some forms of immunotherapy boost the body’s immune system in a very general way, while others help train the immune system to attack cancer cells specifically. Immunotherapy works better for some types of cancer than for others. It may be used as single agent therapy for some cancers, but for others it seems to work better when used with other types of treatment.

Clinical trials

Clinical trials and research have been integral in improving the outcomes for patients with cancer. The San Clinical Trials Unit aims to provide all oncology patients treated at Sydney Adventist Hospital access to the latest and most innovative therapies.

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Surgical treatments

Open surgery

As the name implies, open surgical procedures are done through a large incision. While this can be done safely and effectively, the larger incision can result in a longer hospital stay and recovery time, larger scarring and a higher risk of complications such as bleeding and infection. Your surgeon, however, will suggest the surgical approach that they believe is best for you based on you and your particular cancer. Everyone is unique, and there are times when an open procedure may be a safer and a more effective approach. Minimally invasive surgery can sometimes take longer to perform and, depending on the patients' health, an open approach could be more appropriate.

Laparoscopic surgery

Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that uses several small cuts rather than one long incision in the skin to access the surgical area. The surgeon uses a tiny camera to view the area and small tools to perform the surgery. The benefits of minimally invasive surgery can include smaller incisions and scars, shorter hospital stay and recovery, lower risk of complications, and less pain and discomfort. Laparoscopic procedures are often done if the surgery requires more than one small incision.

Robotic surgery

Robotic-assisted surgery is a type of minimally invasive procedure that uses small incisions. The difference is instead of the surgeon using their hands to manually control the camera and tools, they sit at a console and guide a number of robotic “arms” that provide greater dexterity than the human hand. High definition 3-D imaging also allows for a better view of the operation. Robotic surgery procedures have the same benefits as laparoscopic surgery for the patient. It’s often used in small, difficult to navigate areas of the body such as prostate and colon and also in gynaecological procedures.

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