Understanding Choices

Photo of stethoscope on a deskPhysicians treating cancer patients rely upon three broad categories of treatments:

However, there are many options within each treatment category. And the appropriateness of each treatment will depend upon the particular circumstances of each patient.

Although each patient’s situation is different, the current standard of care for newly-diagnosed ACC patients usually involves surgery followed by radiation. Radiation or systemic therapy (chemotherapy, targeted drugs and immunotherapy) may be recommended if residual disease cannot be surgically removed or advanced metastatic disease is apparent. Often, a surgeon will be the first medical professional seen by an ACC patient, with later referrals to radiation oncologists and medical oncologists (who prescribe systemic therapy).

Whenever possible, patients should seek the advice of a multi-disciplinary team of surgeons, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists. It is human nature for each specialist to feel most comfortable with, and confident in, their own toolkit (“when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail”). However, top doctors all recognize the value of multiple perspectives in serving the best interests of their patients.