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Treatment Protocols for Cancer: Overview

How is cancer treated?

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

  • Your overall health and medical history

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

  • Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the disease

  • Your opinion or preference

What are the goals of treatment?

  • Remission (or cure) 

  • Prevention of cancer recurrence

  • Prolonging life (when remission/cure is not possible) 

  • 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, and provide comfort and support.)

What are the common 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:

  • High-dose therapy with stem cell rescue. High dose of chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy is are given to treat the cancer. The dose of treatment is so high that the body's bone marrow cannot recover. The stem cell rescue is a way to replace the body's bone marrow to provide a functioning blood and immune system. 

Online Medical Reviewer: LoCicero, Richard, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Taylor, Wanda, RN, Ph.D.
Date Last Reviewed: 12/30/2015
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