Cancer Treatment

The cancer treatment plans developed by the FitzPatrick Cancer Center in Plattsburgh are as individual as the people receiving them.

A Treatment Plan Tailored to You

We understand each person who turns to us to help them in their battle against cancer is unique.  Cancer treatment plans, developed by our skilled health care team, are as individual as the people receiving them.  Your oncologist will oversee the plan but, during your therapy, you may have several health care professionals helping you along the way.  Your individualized treatment plan may involve a combination of the following:


In the treatment of cancer, surgery remains the most definitive form of cancer treatment available.  The goal of surgery is to remove all or some of the cancer after diagnosis. It can also be used to help diagnose cancer; to find out where it's located and whether it's spread. Cancers of the breast, colon, lung and prostate are most commonly treated via surgery here.  CVPH surgeons play an integral role on the Cancer Care team.

Included in CVPH’s state-of-the-art Surgery Department is the da Vinci Surgical Robot system which expands the treatment options further for patients with prostate or gynecological cancers.

Medical Oncology

Medical Oncology is the specialty of medicine responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancer.  Physicians certified in this specialty are involved with the use of chemotherapy which involves administering drugs to patients, usually intravenously, that are formulated to kill or disable cancer cells.  Chemotherapy drugs are distributed throughout the majority of the body.  Often chemotherapy is part of a combined treatment along with surgery and/or radiation therapy.

As cancer care advances, newer medications have been developed that decrease complications and improve quality of life.  Side effects from chemotherapy may still result and our team can help you manage any treatment side effects you may have.  We're committed to doing everything within our power to promote quality of life while helping you achieve the most positive outcomes possible.

Your medical oncologist may also coordinate treatment given by other specialists and provide supportive care. 

Radiation Oncology

Radiation Oncology, also called Radiation Therapy, plays a critical role in the treatment of many patients. High-energy rays are used to damage cancer cells and stop them from growing and dividing. Similar to surgery, radiation oncology is a localized treatment. Cancer cells in the area being treated are the only tissue affected.  Radiation can be administered using a machine as an external source of therapy or internally using an implant.

Your Radiation Oncologist oversees care and develops treatment plans with assistance from a physicist and dosimetrist who specialize in cancer care.

Our Radiation Therapy's linear accelerator has Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) capabilities. IMRT supports better outcomes and fewer side effects as it can customize treatment and create less damage to surrounding tissue.  IMRT beams can actually wrap around organs and deliver different doses to regions of the body.  Not all patients need, nor would benefit from, IMRT based on the location of their cancer.

Inpatient Care

Should you need to be admitted to the hospital, you will most likely stay on a nursing unit staffed with a team specializing in cancer care.  The goal of our inpatient care team is to promote optimum quality of life to and to provide comprehensive cancer care to you and your family.  We use a holistic approach to meet and exceed the needs of our patients.

The staff is skilled in caring for patients:

  • Receiving chemotherapy
  • Receiving radiation therapy
  • Receiving radioactive implants
  • Requiring nutrition assessment and management
  • Requiring pain assessment and management (link to new page?)
  • With hematological disorders
  • With compromised immune systems

Every effort is made to integrate inpatient and outpatient care as needed.  A discharge planner on the nursing unit will work with you and your family to be certain you have the services needed at home so you can continue to heal.

Collaboration between our inpatient team, the FitzPatrick Cancer Center staff and community agencies such as HCR/Home Health Care, Hospice of the North Country and The American Cancer Society assure that you benefit from all available resources in our community.


Pain Management

Pain management is an extremely important part of cancer care.  Effective pain management can help the healing process and improve your quality of life.

Mild to moderate pain may be treated with an analgesic medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Chronic or severe pain may be addressed using opiates and other narcotics, sometimes in concert with other drugs including anti-depressants.  Some patients experiencing severe pain may benefit from the uses of devices that enable them to self-administer narcotics.  By having control, they often are able to lessen their pain without increasing drug use.

Our professional nursing staff, along with clinical pharmacists, will work closely with you to maximize your pain control, comfort and quality of life.