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How is cancer treated?

Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, different treatment options are available. The following list of treatments is general and may not relate to your specific type of cancer: 1) Surgery to remove tumors and affected lymph nodes is often the first line of treatment. 2) Chemotherapy - works by attacking cancer cells and stopping their reproduction. Various medications are used, which can be administered intravenously or orally. They are often given in cycles, followed by rest periods, which help to reduce the toxic side effects of chemotherapy. Your doctor will monitor your dosage and treatment schedule to ensure optimal therapeutic dosage is administered, with minimum side effects. 3) Radiotherapy: focused X-rays from an external beam radiation source are applied to the area where the tumor is located. Another form of radiation therapy is brachytherapy. This involves implanting radioactive seeds in the tumor or the near-by area, which deliver cell-destroying radiation directly into the tumor. 4) Immunotherapy - also known as biologic therapy, this is used for some types of cancer. It involves the use of medications that enhance and mimic the function of the immune system to help fight the cancer. 5) Hormonal therapy - depending on the type of cancer, hormonal therapy is sometimes used to lower the body's hormone levels. This can reduce the risk of the cancer coming back or slow or stop the growth of cancer. 6) Targeted therapy - inhibitors of the tyrosine kinase and related enzymes, administered orally, can be used to help stop the growth of a tumor by blocking the action of these enzymes, typically involved in cell growth. 7) Other therapies - some people diagnosed with cancer seek out complementary and alternative therapies. None of these alternative therapies are known to cure cancer, but some can help people feel better when used together with conventional medical treatment. It is important to discuss any treatments with your doctor before starting them.

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About this article

Author: Jonathan Meddings BMedLabSc (Hons)
First answered: 06 Oct 2014
Last reviewed: 14 May 2019
Rating: 5.0 out of 5
Votes: 646 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Cancer


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