What includes cancer therapy?
Cancer treatment uses surgery, radiation, medications, and other therapies to cure cancer, shrink cancer, or stop cancer progression. Many cancer therapies exist. Depending on your particular situation, you may receive one treatment or receive a combination of treatments.
What you can expect
Many cancer treatments are possible. Your treatment options will depend on several circumstances, such as the type and stage of your cancer, your general health, and your choices. Together you and your doctor can weigh the advantages and risks of each cancer treatment to decide which is best for you.
Cancer treatment options include:
- Surgery. The goal of surgery is to remove cancer or as much cancer as possible.
- Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy rays, such as X-rays or protons, to kill cancer cells. Radiation treatment can develop from a machine outside your body.
- Bone marrow transplant. Your bone marrow is the material inside your bones that produces blood cells from blood stem cells. A bone marrow transplant, also known as a stem cell transplant, can use your bone marrow stem cells or those from a donor.
- Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy, also known as biological therapy, uses your body's immune system to fight cancer. Cancer can survive unchecked in your body because your immune system doesn't recognize it as an intruder. Immunotherapy can help your immune system "see" the tumor and attack it.
- Hormone therapy. Your body's hormones fuel some types of cancer. Examples include breast cancer and prostate cancer. Removing those hormones from the body or blocking their effects may cause the cancer cells to stop growing.
- Targeted drug therapy. Targeted drug treatment focuses on specific abnormalities within cancer cells that allow them to survive.
- Cryoablation. This treatment kills cancer cells with cold. During cryoablation, a thin, wandlike needle (cryoprobe) is inserted through your skin and directly into the cancerous tumor.
- Radiofrequency ablation. This treatment uses electrical energy to heat cancer cells, causing them to die. During radiofrequency ablation, a doctor guides a thin needle through the skin or an incision and into the cancer tissue.
- Clinical trials. Clinical trials are studies to investigate new ways of treating cancer. Thousands of cancer clinical trials are underway.
FAQs about cancer
Q. What are cancer cells?
A. Cancer cells have lost control of their ability and growing cancer cells – a tumor. Tumors induce blood vessel growth (angiogenesis). They may grow quickly or slowly.
Q. How does cancer spread?
A. Single cancer cells can break away from an established tumor, spread locally or enter the bloodstream or lymph system, and be carried to a distant site where they can take root and grow as a secondary tumor. They can also spread across body cavities.
Q. What are the most typical cancers?
A. The four most common cancers are breast cancer, lung cancer, bowel cancer, and prostate cancer.