Treatment options | Cancer | Salem Health
If you are experiencing flu-like or COVID-19 symptoms, call us at 503-814-0099 before visiting any of our locations. Learn more.

Treatment options

At Salem Health Cancer Institute, we specialize in hope. Our providers represent every specialty involved in cancer treatment. Together, they create a treatment plan unique to each patient. And they use every tool in the battle against cancer.

We want to prepare you for whatever treatment path you take. Part of that preparation is knowing the different types of available cancer treatment.

  • Medical oncology includes medicine-based treatments for cancer, such as immunotherapy, targeted therapy, hormone therapy and chemotherapy. Oregon Oncology Specialists are the medical oncology practice for Salem Cancer Institute. 
  • Radiation therapy directs invisible high energy, such as x-rays and electron beams at cancer cells to kill them or limit their ability to grow. Radiation may be used alone or with other treatment methods. 
  • Cancer surgery involves physically removing as much of the cancer from the body as possible. This can be done with traditional “open” surgery or in a minimally invasive procedure using a robot. Surgery is often followed by chemotherapy or radiation to kill any remaining cancer cells. 


The Salem Health Cancer Institute Research department, in collaboration with OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and Oregon Oncology Specialists, provides the latest treatment options through clinical and pharmaceutical trials right here in our community.

In-hospital care

The inpatient oncology unit includes an experienced team of oncology certified nurses, medical-surgical certified nurses, and hospice and palliative care staff ready to care for you or your loved one during a hospital stay. Our palliative care program — including a team of doctors, nurses, social workers and chaplains — cares for people when an illness causes pain, symptoms or stress.

Preparing for cancer treatment

Soon after a cancer diagnosis, a doctor will discuss treatment options with you. It is very easy to become overwhelmed during this time — you may feel like you’ve lost control of your body. One way to feel more in control is to take an active approach to preparing for treatment. 

Ask questions

Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor any question. If something is troubling you, it is worth discussing. Salem Health Cancer Institute has a team of support people to help you navigate your care as well.

Before appointments, you may find it useful to write down your questions so you won't forget what you want to ask. Take notes or ask whether you may use a voice recorder. You may also want to ask a family member or friend to join you.

Anticipate side effects

You won't know exactly what side effects you’ll have until treatment begins. Common side effects include fatigue, hair loss, nausea, fever and infection.

Planning for side effects — before they happen — with your doctor and family can help. You may need loved ones to take over household chores and responsibilities for a while. The good news is that most side effects are controllable and will go away after treatment ends.

Eat right

Normally, a healthy diet includes eating lots of fruits and vegetables and limiting fat and sugar. But nutrition recommendations during cancer treatment are different.

To strengthen your body, you may need to increase calories and protein in your diet. Our dietitian can advise you on ways to avoid some side effects of treatment, such as nausea and constipation.

Talk to your employer

Whether you can work during cancer treatment will depend on your health status and how you feel. Find out if your company offers flexible work hours or a reduced schedule. You won’t know how you will feel until treatment starts, but it doesn’t hurt to have a conversation about it ahead of time.