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Some people with cancer will have only one treatment. But most people have a combination of treatments, such as surgery with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. When you need treatment for cancer, you have a lot to learn and think about. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and confused. But, talking with your doctor and learning about the types of treatment you may have can help you feel more in control. Our list of Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Treatment may help.


Cancer treatment is based on the stage of the cancer. Sometimes, treatment is meant to cure the cancer. Other times, the goal is to stop the cancer from spreading further. Some treatments may be given to reduce side effects of other treatments and make you more comfortable. This is called palliative care. Palliative care can be given at any stage of your cancer treatment, even if your cancer is treatable. Your treatment plan may change over time.

Choosing the treatment that is right for you may be hard. Talk to your cancer doctor about the treatments for your kind and stage of cancer. Your doctor can explain the risks and benefits of each treatment, and their side effects.

The goal of cancer treatment is to achieve a cure for your cancer, allowing you to live a normal life span. This may or may not be possible, depending on your specific situation. If a cure isn't possible, your treatments may be used to shrink your cancer or slow the growth of your cancer to allow you to live symptom free for as long as possible.

Any cancer treatment can be used as a primary treatment, but the most common primary cancer treatment for the most common types of cancer is surgery. If your cancer is particularly sensitive to radiation therapy or chemotherapy, you may receive one of those therapies as your primary treatment.

Palliative treatment. Palliative treatments may help relieve side effects of treatment or signs and symptoms caused by cancer itself. Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and hormone therapy can all be used to relieve symptoms. Other medications may relieve symptoms such as pain and shortness of breath.

Many cancer treatments are available. Your treatment options will depend on several factors, such as the type and stage of your cancer, your general health, and your preferences. Together you and your doctor can weigh the benefits and risks of each cancer treatment to determine which is best for you.

The American Cancer Society offers programs and services to help you during and after cancer treatment. Below are some of the resources we provide. We can also help you find other free or low-cost resources available.

At the American Cancer Society, we have a vision to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. We're improving the lives of cancer patients and their families through advocacy, research, and patient support to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer.

Planning cancer treatment can take time and you should talk to your doctor about how long you can expect to wait until treatment starts. It's important to learn about all your treatment options to make the decision that is best for your situation.

Many procedures and drugs are available to treat cancer, with many more being studied. Some are "local" treatments like surgery and radiation therapy, which are used to treat a specific tumor or area of the body. Drug treatments (such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or targeted therapy) are often called "systemic" treatments because they can affect the entire body. Learn about the most common types of treatment for cancer here.

There are many different approaches for treating cancer, depending on the type of cancer, how advanced it is, what types of treatment are available, and what the goals of treatment are. Learn about how cancer treatments might be used in certain situations here.

When cancer treatment is far from home, our Hope Lodge facilities offer a free place to stay and a supportive space to rest. We also provide lodging grants to local healthcare systems partners so they can provide lodging assistance to their patients.

Road to Recovery connects cancer patients in need of transportation to treatment with volunteers to get them there. We also provide transportation grants to local healthcare systems partners to provide transportation assistance to their patients.

Treatments for cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, as well as newer techniques such as interventional radiology and immunotherapy. Find basic information about cancer treatment and learn more about what to expect as a Memorial Sloan Kettering patient or caregiver.

We care for adults and children with cancer in our specialized treatment centers, focused on specific cancer types. Our teams of specialists work closely together to offer patients the latest therapies and clinical services, including access to innovative clinical trials.

We understand that cancer affects patients and their families in many ways. We offer a wide range of services, from financial planning to creative arts to spiritual care and more, to support our patients through their cancer experiences.

Nutrition experts at Dana-Farber will help you follow a healthy diet during and after your cancer treatment. We have special training in oncology and nutrition, and base our advice on scientifically sound nutrition research.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) is changing its name to City of Hope, a transition that underscores our commitment to delivering leading-edge treatments and care to more of the patients who need it most.

Our reputation for groundbreaking discoveries, innovative treatments and compassionate care make us a leader in the fight to help patients here and around the world conquer cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases.

Our infrastructure and collaborative energy sets us apart. By having scientists, treatment staff and manufacturing facilities side-by-side, our treatment advances can travel from laboratory to patient with lifesaving speed.

As a leading research institute, our academic programs look beyond the standard treatments of today, providing educational opportunities that explore the latest advancements in research and therapies.

After a cancer diagnosis, people with cancer and their families have to make a number of decisions about medical treatment. These decisions can be complicated by anxiety, unfamiliar words, statistics, and a sense of urgency. Unless you are facing an emergency, take time to research your options, ask questions, and talk with family and friends.

Decisions about cancer treatment are personal, and you need to feel comfortable about your choices. But many people do not know where or how to start. Here are some simple, important steps you can take as you start the decision-making process.

Where is the cancer located? This is called cancer staging. Cancer staging is a way to describe where the cancer can be found in the body. The cancer's stage tells you where the cancer is located and its size, if it has grown into nearby tissues and how far, and if it has spread to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body and organs. The treatment you receive will depend on the cancer's stage.

What do my diagnosis and stage mean? This question will help you understand your prognosis, which is the predicted course of the cancer. This question will also help you understand treatment goals. For some people, the goals of treatment will be to cure the cancer. For others, it will be to live your life as best as possible for as long as possible. Sometimes you will hear this described as "quality of life."

What are my treatment options? This is the most common question all people with cancer and their caregivers have. Unless your health care team tells you starting treatment is urgent, it is important to take time to understand and digest the information about your cancer type and diagnosis to make decisions about the recommended treatment options. After understanding the type of cancer, the stage, and treatment goals, you and your health care team can work together to choose a treatment plan. Take time to learn about all of your treatment options and ask any questions that are unclear. Ask your doctor what you can expect from each of the proposed treatments, including things such as how it would make you feel (quality of life) and how much benefit it may provide. Sometimes, the answers to these questions may be uncertain. This is because everyone experiences different side effects and results from treatment. Talk with your health care team about how to manage possible side effects. Ask your oncologist which treatment plan they recommend and how they made that decision. These types of conversations are called shared decision-making.

Your doctor may use some treatments to slow, stop, or eliminate the cancer. They will also use palliative and supportive care to manage symptoms and side effects. For example, if a cancer treatment causes nausea, there are several different ways to avoid or reduce nausea, such as a prescription medication. During your conversation with your doctor about treatment options, it is important to understand the goals of each treatment in your treatment plan. This can help you make the best decision about treatment for you.

Curative cancer treatments. When therapies are used to eliminate cancer, they are called "curative cancer treatments." A treatment plan that is intended to cure cancer will also include palliative and supportive care to manage symptoms and side effects. 041b061a72

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