Cancer – familydoctor.org

The three most common types of cancer treatment are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Treatment aims to kill cancer cells or destroy them with drugs or other means.

Some cancers cannot be cured. Some people choose to focus on quality of life and choose not to receive treatment. In these cases, they may rely on palliative care and palliative care. Palliative care can help provide comfort and treat symptoms. It can start as soon as diagnosis. Palliative care begins closer to the end of life. This usually occurs when the person is not expected to survive for more than 6 months.

Surgery

Surgery is a way to physically remove cancer. Surgery can be very successful in treating some types of cancer. But it is not an option in all cases. A tumor and any surrounding affected tissue can be safely removed if:

  • Cancer takes the form of a malignant tumor (a tumor that spreads).
  • The tumor is still in one place (localized).

Surgery may not be possible if:

  • The cancer has spread to other areas of the body.
  • The tumor cannot be removed without damaging vital organs, such as the liver or brain.

Radiotherapy

Radiation therapy uses radiation to damage cancer cells so they cannot multiply. The radiation is produced in the form of special x-rays, gamma rays or electrons. There is generally no pain during this type of therapy. Depending on the area being treated, side effects from radiation damage to normal tissues may occur. Your doctor can tell you what to expect. Sometimes radiation therapy is the only treatment needed. It can also be used with other therapies. A combination of surgery and radiation therapy may be used for tumors that grow in one place.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses powerful drugs to attack cancer cells. This treatment is sometimes very scary because the side effects can be serious. However, not all people experience serious side effects. Chemotherapy side effects can often be treated with other medications.

Chemotherapy is usually used when the cancer has spread to other areas of the body. It can also be used in combination with surgery and radiation. Sometimes the tumor is removed surgically. Chemotherapy is then used to make sure any remaining cancer cells are killed.

Other specialized treatments may be available. Your doctor can talk to you about these treatments if they are an option for you.

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