From providing you with an accurate diagnosis to presenting you with the best options for treatment, the cancer professionals at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center approach your care as a team. This means you have a group of specialists - medical, surgical and radiation oncology, pathology, diagnostic radiology, and genetic counseling – meeting regularly to collaborate and determine the best options and treatment for you.
We use a number of diagnostic tools to pinpoint a cancer diagnosis. Most of these tests can be performed at our Diagnostic Imaging Center.
- General X-ray: X-rays, taken of any area of the body, used to reveal suspicious areas
- CT scan: A computerized axial tomography of a body organ under examination
- Digital mammography: An X-ray image of the breast that can be viewed and manipulated on a computer screen
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A method of visualizing the body's soft tissues by applying an external magnetic field
- Positron emission tomography (PET): An imaging technique that produces pictures of the functions of the human body unobtainable by other imaging techniques
- Ultrasound: An imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of blood vessels, tissues and organs as they function, and assess blood flow through various vessels
- Nuclear medicine: An imaging technique that uses tracers to help identify sites in the body where tumors can hide or bleed.
- Biopsy: The removal and examination of tissue from the body to establish a precise diagnosis
- Blood lab work: Blood analysis to determine if a patient meets the parameters for treatment.
- Endoscopy/colonoscopy: Use of an elongated flexible endoscope to permit visual examination of the upper gastrointestinal tract or colon
- Echocardiography: A method of graphically recording the position and motion of the heart walls or the internal structures of the heart and neighboring tissue
- Electrocardiogram: A graphic tracing of the variations in electrical potential caused by the excitation of the heart muscle and detected at the body surface
Our collaborative team remains at the leading edge of cancer care by using state-of-the-art technologies to treat most types of cancer.
Illinois Masonic Medical Center is among the first in the nation to offer the latest advancement in radiation oncology - RapidArc radiotherapy. This treatment option is faster and more accurate than traditional radiation therapy, allowing the physician to maximize radiation to the tumor while significantly reducing unwanted radiation to nearby organs and tissue. Cancer therapy is more powerful, and exposure to healthy cells is limited.
Radiation therapy uses high doses of radiation energy to destroy or damage cancer cells. Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, X-ray therapy, or irradiation, is a common treatment for many types of cancer. There are several types of radiation therapy:
- Image-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT): An advanced form of three-dimensional radiotherapy; one of the most precise forms of external beam radiotherapy available
- Breast brachytherapy or accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI): An outpatient procedure that shortens treatment time from six weeks to five days while reducing the size of the treatment focus to only the affected area
- Low- and high-dose brachytherpy (LDR/HDR): Minimally invasive, localized doses of radiation used to treat patients with tumors confined to a small area, such as tumors of the prostate, uterus and cervix
- Radiopharmaceuticals: The use of radioisotope technology to treat bone metastasis and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT): Allows for accuracy when localizing tumors and limiting radiation of non-affected areas before treatments
Other Treatments and Technologies
- Chemotherapy: Used to treat many cancers either alone or in conjunction with surgery; relies on powerful medications to eliminate cancer cells or inhibit their growth
- Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC): An innovative treatment for advanced abdominal cancers
- The da Vinci® Surgical System: A minimally invasive surgical option that uses a robotic approach controlled by a highly skilled surgeon and provides magnified, three-dimensional views of the surgical site
Integrative Therapies and Support Services
The professionals at our cancer center understand the need to treat the entire patient. Our staff of bilingual, clinically trained and licensed physicians and interns offers a unique psychosocial program with a full complement of support services for the social, emotional and spiritual needs of our patients and their families. All services are provided at no cost to our patients and their immediate support network of friends and family.
Our oncology-certified psychosocial coordinator and our bilingual (English/Spanish) psychologist coordinate a variety of services, including:
- Individual and family counseling throughout the course of treatment and entrance into survivorship
- Crisis intervention
- Music therapy
- Behavioral medicine focused on the use of techniques such as relaxation, self-hypnosis, guided imagery and biofeedback to help patients cope with the stresses of life, diagnosis and treatment
- Specialized support groups for cancer center patients
- Assistance with identification of and referrals to community services, such as the American Cancer Society, Department on Aging, Department of Rehabilitative Services, Meals on Wheels, Cancer Legal Resource Foundation and places to purchase wigs and prosthetic devices
- Relaxation and hypnosis therapy
- Gilda's Club at Illinois Masonic Medical Center, the nation’s first hospital-based location of the national support organization, which provides free group support services as well as yoga, workshops and seminars to both cancer center patients and members of the community