HOW IS CANCER TREATED AND WHY ARE DIFFERENT TYPES TREATED DIFFERENTLY?
Different types of cancer can behave very differently, so there are different types of treatment for each specific kind. The cancer care team will discuss the treatment for each person.
FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE TYPE OF TREATMENT ARE:
• Type of cancer
• Stage (amount) of the cancer
• Person’s overall health
• Likely side effects of the treatment
• The probability of curing the cancer, controlling it to
extend life, or relieving symptoms.
Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are the three main types of cancer treatment. Any of these, alone or in combination, may be the best treatment.
Surgery Surgery is often the first treatment used if the cancer can be removed from the body. Sometimes only part of the cancer can be removed. Radiation or chemotherapy might be used to shrink the cancer before or after surgery.
Chemotherapy Doctors use chemotherapy or “chemo” drugs to kill cancer cells. Usually, the drugs are given intravenously (IV or into a vein) or taken by mouth. Chemo drugs travel throughout the body in the bloodstream. They can reach cancer cells that may have spread away from the tumor.
Radiation therapy Radiation therapy is treatment with high-energy rays (such as x-rays) to kill or shrink cancer cells. The radiation may come from outside the body, called external radiation, or from radioactive materials placed right into the tumor (internal or implant radiation). Getting external radiation is a lot like getting an x-ray. It’s doesn’t hurt, but it can cause side effects.
Other kinds of cancer treatment you might hear about include targeted therapy, stem cell or bone marrow transplant, and immunotherapy. Hormone therapy is another type of treatment that’s sometimes used to treat certain kinds of prostate and breast cancers.
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