Types of Cancer Treatment

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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.

The main types of cancer treatment include:

Surgery

Surgery, when used to treat cancer, 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.

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 ones you might have, and more.

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.

Immunotherapy  

Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that helps your immune system fight cancer. Learn about the different types of immunotherapy, how it works against cancer, side effects that may happen, and more.

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 about the role that targeted therapy plays in cancer treatment, how targeted therapy works against cancer, and common side effects.

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.

Stem Cell Transplant

Stem cell transplants are procedures that restore blood-forming stem cells in cancer patients 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.

Precision Medicine

Precision medicine is an approach to cancer care that allows doctors to select treatments that are most likely to help patients based on a genetic understanding of their disease. Learn about the role that precision medicine plays in cancer treatment and how genetic changes in a person's cancer are identified and may be used to select treatments that are most likely to help them.

Some people with cancer will have only one treatment. But most people have a combination of treatments, such as surgery with chemotherapy and/or 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 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Treatment may help.

  • Updated: April 6, 2017

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