Treatment Types

Find out what you need to know about the most common types of cancer treatment, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and many others. Learn how they work and why they are used, and get an idea of what to expect and how they might affect you if you're getting them.

Surgery

Surgery can be used to diagnose, treat, or even help prevent cancer in some cases. Most people with cancer will have some type of surgery. It often offers the greatest chance for cure, especially if the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body. Learn more about surgery here.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy (chemo) is the use of medicines or drugs to treat cancer. The thought of having chemotherapy frightens many people. But knowing what chemotherapy is, how it works, and what to expect can often help calm your fears. It can also give you a better sense of control over your cancer treatment.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy particles or waves to destroy or damage cancer cells. It is one of the most common treatments for cancer, either by itself or along with other forms of treatment. Learn more about radiation therapy in this section.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy is a newer type of cancer treatment that uses drugs or other substances to more precisely identify and attack cancer cells, usually while doing little damage to normal cells. Targeted therapy is a growing part of many cancer treatment regimens. Find out more about it here.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is treatment that uses your body's own immune system to help fight cancer. Get information about the different types of immunotherapy and the types of cancer they are used to treat.

Hyperthermia

The idea of using heat to treat cancer has been around for some time, but early attempts had mixed results. Today, newer tools allow more precise delivery of heat, and hyperthermia is being studied for use against many types of cancer.

Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy or PDT is a treatment that uses special drugs, called photosensitizing agents, along with light to kill cancer cells. The drugs only work after they have been activated or "turned on" by certain kinds of light.

Lasers in Cancer Treatment

Lasers, which are very powerful, precise beams of light, can be used instead of blades (scalpels) for very careful surgical work, including treating some cancers.

Blood Product Donation and Transfusion

Transfusions of blood and blood products temporarily replace parts of the blood when a person's body can't make its own or has lost them from bleeding. Here, we describe blood and its components and why they are important. We also explain how blood is donated and transfused and how this relates to people with cancer.

I Can Cope Online Class - Understanding Cancer Treatments

For a quick, easy way to learn important facts and practical tips about cancer and related issues, participate in our interactive online program, I Can Cope—Online. There is never any charge to participate, and you set the pace—whenever and wherever is most convenient for you. This class focuses on understanding cancer treatments.
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