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Treatment Protocols for Cancer

How is cancer treated?

Healthcare providers follow specific guidelines for treating cancer. These protocols help providers know what treatment to use as well as the dose and schedule. The protocols are based on research. Your healthcare provider will decide on your specific cancer treatment based on:

  • The type of cancer

  • Your overall health and your health history

  • Extent of the disease, including grade, stage, and location

  • Your ability to handle certain medicines, procedures, or therapies

  • Outlook for the course of the disease

  • Your opinion or preference

What are the goals of treatment?

  • Cure the cancer (remission) 

  • Prevent the return of the cancer (recurrence)

  • Prolong life (when remission or cure is not possible) 

  • Ease the symptoms. This is called palliation. Palliation is treatment for a symptom of the cancer, such as pain. It's not a treatment for the cancer itself. The goal of palliation is to improve the quality of life and provide comfort and support.

What are the common types of cancer treatment?

You may receive one or more type of treatment. The usual methods for treating cancer include:

  • Surgery

  • Radiation therapy

  • Chemotherapy

  • Hormone therapy

  • Immunotherapy or biological therapy

  • Targeted therapy

  • Stem cell transplant

Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals RN BSN MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Sabrina Felson MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Todd Gersten MD
Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2023
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