Treatment Protocols for Cancer: Overview

How is cancer treated?

Specific treatment for cancer will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your overall health and medical history

  • extent of the disease - type, grade, stage, and location

  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • expectations for the course of the disease

  • your opinion or preference

What are the four goals of treatment?

  • successful treatment

  • prevention

  • prolonged life

  • palliation (Palliation is treatment for a symptom of the cancer, such as pain. It is not a treatment for the cancer itself. The goal of palliation treatment is to improve the quality of life, not longevity.)

What are the standard types of cancer treatment?

Listed below are the conventional, primary methods of treating cancer:

  • surgery

  • radiation therapy

  • chemotherapy

  • hormone therapy

  • immunotherapy / biological therapy

Cancer may also be treated with:

  • adjuvant therapy - combining two or more treatments

  • prophylactic or preventive treatment - treatment is sometimes given even when the cancer has not appeared, or all the cancer is thought to have been removed, if there is a significant statistical risk that the cancer will reappear later.

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