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Cancer Treatments

Surgery
 
This is the most common cancer therapy. Surgery can be used to cure, relieve symptoms or prevent cancer.

Radiation
 
Radiation TherapyThis is the use of high energy rays to kill or shrink tumor cells. It can be given by aiming the radiation to the part of the body where the cancer is located; by applying a source of radiation inside the body; or by putting radiation into the bloodstream in the form of a liquid. The type and amount of radiation depends on many factors, so it will be slightly different for each person.
 
The Canadian Cancer Society has prepared a booklet entitled Radiation Therapy: A Guide for People with Cancer, which provides important information about radiation and what to expect. For more detailed information on radiation therapy and what to expect, please view the documents below:
For additional information, visit RT Answers: answers to your radiation thepary questions.

Cancer Drugs/MedicinesCancer Drugs/Medicines

 
There are many drugs available today to treat cancer. They all act in different ways to cure, control or decrease symptoms of cancer. They include chemotherapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy or immune system boosters.
  •  Chemotherapy
    This is a group of medicines that destroy cancer cells or stop them from growing. Chemotherapy can be in the form of liquid, pills or creams. Your treatment may involve using one medication or a combination of medications. Chemotherapy treatments are usually repeated over a period of time. Your cancer doctor will explain your treatment plan and any likely side effects. Side effects depend on the type of chemotherapy you are prescribed. Some people experience side effects while others do not. Common side effects include feeling tired, increased risk for infection and stomach sickness. To learn more about chemotherapy treatment view the chemotherapy treatment booklet prepared by the Canadian Cancer Society.
     
  • Hormone Therapy
    This type of medication is used to fight cancers such as breast, endometrial or prostate cancer, that depend on hormones to grow. They act by blocking or removing the hormone needed by the cancer cells to grow. Hormone therapy comes in a pill and needle form. They need to be taken  from months to years. Common side effects include hot flashes, tiredness and appetite changes.
     
  •  Immunotherapy or Immune System Booster Medicines
    This group of medications improves your body’s own ability to recognize and destroy cancer cells. They can also help “fighter cells” like white blood cells, mature faster, so that they can go to work. They usually occur naturally in your body. There are various types of immune system boosters.
Complementary Therapies
 
These are additional, supportive therapies that may be added to your cancer treatment. These therapies include things like massage therapy, guided imagery, a physical activity plan, art therapy, dietary therapies and others. It is important to discuss the use of complementary therapies with your cancer care team, especially if using dietary therapies, as these may interfere with your cancer treatment and overall health.

 

Supportive Therapies

These are any other treatments that help to improve your overall health and quality of life. They may include things like emotional counseling, spiritual counseling, physiotherapy, nutritional treatments and therapies to deal with treatment side effects and others.

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Updated May 27, 2016