Cancers are treated with various tools such as Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy, Immunotherapy, Hormonotherapy or Targeted Therapy. Here below are presented simple introduction on each treatment type. To find more detailed information, see the sites listed in the Medical Resources.
The Oncology team will choose the most appropriate tool and sequence based on the type of Cancer and its staging in the best interest of the patient. Each case is different and the Oncologists are the best persons to seek advice and ask specific questions.
During the treatment, the communication with the Oncology Medical team is key. Reporting Side effects is great help for both patient and doctors. Also, if during the treatment the patient experiences any issue such as rash or fever for example, it is highly recommended to get in touch or visit ER.
Surgery is often used to remove a cancer and is used to treat many types of cancer. It can be used for lots of reasons, such as to:
- Diagnose cancer, define the size of a tumor and its potential spread to other parts of the body
- Remove cancer (the tumor and a margin)
- Restore parts of the body (for example, bladder reconstruction) or improve the appearance of part of the body (for example, breast reconstruction).
In some cases, surgeons will give the patient a choice. This happens with some breast cancers when the ladies might be offered to choose a lumpectomy (tumor ablation) or a mastectomy (single or double breast ablation).
There are various types of Chemotherapy drugs administrated depending on the type of Cancer and the staging. It can be administrated by pills or intravenous via caths. Side effects will then depend on the protocol (drug used, number and dosage of the sessions). Below side effects are the main potential ones knowing that some might also apply to other treatments (such as fatigue during radiotherapy, fertility during hormonotherapy):
There are various types of Radiotherapy treatment: external and internal radiotherapy. In both cases, the technology is different and defined by the Medical team based on the diagnosis.
It destroys cancer cells in the specific area treated. Since normal cells can also be damaged there are some side effects. Cancer cells cannot repair themselves after radiotherapy, but normal cells usually can.
Hormone therapy is commonly in breast cancer and prostate cancer treatments. There are several different types of hormonal therapy. They are usually given as either tablets or injections.