Types of Treatment
Beginning Your Cancer Treatments
If you have just been diagnosed with cancer, one of the first thoughts that you may have is, “What type of treatment will I undertake?” This can be a very daunting question, and the treatment options are likely to be specific to both the type of cancer you have and how advanced it is.
Another very common line of questioning that is researched by many cancer patients is “a cure for cancers” or “what are the cancers with possible cures?”. Unfortunately, today, no cancer has a guaranteed cure, and the various cancer treatment options available may or may not help. Again, the treatment of cancer is a unique experience for every patient and it may require patience, research, trial, and error or a combination of therapy options.
Types of Cancer Treatments
There are many different methods in which to treat cancer. Each variation of cancer treatment has undergone extensive medical research and many clinical trials to determine the effectiveness and side effects of each treatment method. The most common types of cancer treatments are:
- Surgery: the removal of a tumor and nearby tissue from the body
- Chemotherapy: the use of powerful drugs that work to kill cancer cells, stopping them from growing and dividing
- Radiotherapy or radiation therapy: the use of high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors
- Hormonal therapy: treatment that re-balances the level of hormones that a cancer cell needs to grow
- Personalized and Targeted Therapy: the study of a patient’s genetic makeup to determine effective treatment strategies
- Immunotherapy: works by boosting the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer
- Interventional Oncology: targeted and minimally invasive procedures performed under image guidance
- Clinical trials: to be discussed with your oncology team.
In some cases, patients may have one form of treatment or need to undergo a combination of specialized treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy to best reduce the size of the cancer cells and effectively treat the cancer as a whole.
One of the biggest concerns for patients living with cancer is the side effects that they may experience from undergoing treatment. In many cases, it cannot be said that a patient will not experience any symptoms at all, as side effects can often be as a result of both the cancer as well as from the different treatment options.
A different type of cancer to yours may experience one side effects, while your specific cancer type may well experience completely different side-effects. Cancer research and on-going clinical trials continue to study the effects of cancer and the different treatment options to help minimize harsh side effects.
When considering the right treatment plan for you, it can help to research different therapy options. If you have concerns about specific side effects of cancer treatment types that are well documented, discuss them with your doctor and Oncology team.
Regardless of the cancer treatment that is chosen by the patient and their Oncology team, it may help cancer patients and their families to know that the side effects of treatments are managed by a subsection of your oncology team in a therapy known as palliative care. The palliative care team ensures that a patient’s treatment symptoms are either relieved or eradicated by noting all information relating to dosages, types of treatments, and all other relevant information to provide their cancer patient with the best possible care during their cancer treatment.
Remember by talking with your doctor and learning about the types of treatment options you may have, it can help you feel more in control.