When you are diagnosed with cancer, it can be a difficult and overwhelming experience. However, understanding the different types of treatments available can help you feel more in control. A multidisciplinary team of cancer professionals will work together to recommend the best possible treatment plan for your individual situation. The most common treatments for cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, laser therapy, and hormone therapy.
Each of these treatments has its own benefits and risks, and your doctor will help you decide which one is right for you. Surgery is often used to remove tumors or cancerous tissue from the body. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are systemic treatments that can affect the entire body. Targeted therapy is a type of drug treatment that focuses on changes in cancer cells that help them grow, divide, and spread.
Immunotherapy uses the body's own immune system to fight cancer cells. Laser therapy uses high-energy light to destroy cancer cells. Hormone therapy is used to treat hormone-fueled cancers such as breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers. The goal of primary treatment is to completely eliminate cancer from the body or to kill all cancer cells. If a cure is not possible, treatments can be used to reduce the size of the cancer or slow its growth and allow you to live without symptoms for as long as possible.
Adjuvant therapy is used after primary treatment to kill any remaining cancer cells and reduce the chance of recurrence. When making decisions about your cancer treatment, it's important to talk to your doctor about all of your options and ask questions about what to expect. The American Cancer Society offers programs and services to help you during and after treatment.