General Article How is cancer treated?

Topic Selected: Cancer Book Volume: 433

There are several types of cancer treatment. It’s common for a combination of treatments to be used. You may be offered treatment as part of a clinical trial.

Treatments include:

  • surgery – an operation to remove the cancer is the main treatment for many types of cancer
  • radiotherapy – high energy X-rays are used to destroy the cancer cells
  • chemotherapy – uses anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells
  • hormonal therapy – reduces the level of hormones in the body or blocks hormones from reaching cancer cells
  • targeted therapies – destroy cancer cells, usually by interfering with the cancer’s ability to grow
  • stem cell or bone marrow treatments – allow high doses of anti-cancer treatment to be given or are used to give the person a new immune system to fight the cancer

You may also be given supportive treatments to treat side effects. Supportive treatments include:

  • treatments to treat or reduce the risk of infection
  • steroids
  • blood transfusions
  • bone strengthening treatments

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