Systemic Therapies to Treat Cancer

Systemic therapies are drugs that spread throughout the body to eliminate cancer cells. They include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, biologic therapy and vaccines. Treatment plans vary depending on the characteristics and stage of the cancer as well as the patient’s family history and genetic composition.


Chemotherapy refers to anti-cancer drugs that travel through the bloodstream to reach cancers that could potentially, or may have already, spread beyond the original site to distant organs. Chemotherapy may involve numerous drugs, because different types of cancer cells respond differently to medications. There are over 100 different chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy drugs can be given in a variety of ways: pill or liquid, injection or intravenous (IV).

Chemotherapy Side Effects

Managing the side effects of chemo has come a long way in recent years. Chemotherapy can still be challenging for some, but many patients are able to continue working and living normal lives while undergoing treatment. Physicians can prescribe medications to prevent potential side effects before they appear. The oncology nurses at Shenandoah Medical Center work with patients to help them manage or avoid side effects.

Hormone Therapy

Hormones cause some types of cancer cells to grow, such as breast cancer and prostate cancer. In other cases, hormones can kill cancer cells, make cancer cells grow more slowly, or stop them from growing. Hormone therapy as a cancer treatment may involve taking medications that interfere with hormone activity or stop hormone production. Hormone therapy may also involve surgically removing a gland that is producing the harmful hormones.

Immunotherapy or Biologic Therapy

Immunotherapy treatments boost the body’s ability to fight off or destroy cancer cells. Immunotherapy may use artificial antibodies produced in a laboratory, or proteins and other agents that the body produces naturally.

Our Infusion Center

Our Infusion Center is designed to provide a comfortable, quiet and patient-focused environment for those receiving infusions, whether it’s chemotherapy, intravenous drug therapy, blood transfusions, or other intravenous therapies. The comfortable recliners, soothing décor and quiet atmosphere help the treatment time pass pleasantly as patients rest or spend time with friends and family.

1 Jack Foster Drive

Shenandoah, IA 51601


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Clinic Hours

Monday-Friday: 7-5:00pm

Walk-In Clinic Hours

Monday-Friday: 7-6:30pm Saturday-Sunday: 9-12:30pm