When patients are diagnosed with cancer, a care team will discuss with them about the different treatment options. It’s important to take time and think about all the options. In choosing a treatment plan, the most important factors are generally the type of cancer and the stage (aggressiveness) of the cancer. Other factors to consider include the person’s overall health, the likely side effects of the treatments, and the probability of curing the cancer, controlling it to extend life, or relieving symptoms.
Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are the 3 main types of cancer treatment. A person with cancer may have either one or a combination of these treatments.
Surgery is usually the first treatment if the tumour can be removed.
Chemotherapy means using drugs to kill cancer cells. Usually, they are given intravenously or taken by mouth.
Radiation treatment (often called radiotherapy) is a treatment with high energy rays to kill cancer cells. The radiation may come from outside the body, called external radiation (like an X-Ray), or from radioactive materials placed right into the tumour (internal or implant radiation).
Since a few years, new kinds of treatment are being developed and include targeted therapy, stem cell or bone marrow transplant and immunotherapy.