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Types of Cancer Treatment

Credit: National Cancer Institute

There are many types of cancer treatment. The types of treatment that you receive will depend on the type of cancer you have and how advanced it is.

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.

  • Biomarker Testing for Cancer Treatment

    Biomarker testing is a way to look for genes, proteins, and other substances (called biomarkers or tumor markers) that can provide information about cancer. Biomarker testing can help you and your doctor choose a cancer treatment.

  • Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Learn how chemotherapy works against cancer, why it causes side effects, and how it is used with other cancer treatments.

  • Hormone Therapy

    Hormone therapy is a treatment that slows or stops the growth of breast and prostate cancers that use hormones to grow. Learn about the types of hormone therapy and side effects that may happen.

  • Hyperthermia

    Hyperthermia is a type of treatment in which body tissue is heated to as high as 113 °F to help damage and kill cancer cells with little or no harm to normal tissue. Learn about the types of cancer and precancers that hyperthermia is used to treat, how it is given, and the benefits and drawbacks of using hyperthermia.

  • Immunotherapy

    Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that helps your immune system fight cancer. This page covers the types of immunotherapy, how it is used against cancer, and what you can expect during treatment.

  • Photodynamic Therapy

    Photodynamic therapy uses a drug activated by light to kill cancer and other abnormal cells. Learn how photodynamic therapy works, about the types of cancer and precancers it is used to treat, and the benefits and drawbacks of this treatment.

  • Radiation Therapy

    Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Learn about the types of radiation, why side effects happen, which side effects you might have, and more.

  • Stem Cell Transplant

    Stem cell transplants are procedures that restore stem cells that grow into blood cells in people who have had theirs destroyed by very high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Learn about the types of transplants, side effects that may occur, and how stem cell transplants are used in cancer treatment.

  • Surgery

    When used to treat cancer, surgery is a procedure in which a surgeon removes cancer from your body. Learn the different ways that surgery is used against cancer and what you can expect before, during, and after surgery.

  • Targeted Therapy

    Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that targets the changes in cancer cells that help them grow, divide, and spread. Learn how targeted therapy works against cancer and about common side effects that may occur.