- The three most common types of cancer treatment are surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
- Treatment is aimed at removing the cancer cells or destroying them in the body with medicines or other agents.
- Surgery can be very successful in treating some kinds of cancer, but it isn't an option for all people. If the cancer is in the form of a malignant tumor and the tumor is in one place (localized), it may be possible to safely "cut out" the tumor and any surrounding affected tissue. Surgery may not be possible if the cancer has spread to other areas of the body or if the tumor cannot be removed without damaging vital organs, such as the liver or brain.
- Chemotherapy uses medicines to attack the cancer cells. Just the word "chemotherapy" can cause a lot of fear because the side effects can be severe. However, not all people experience severe side effects. The side effects of chemotherapy can often be reduced with other medicines.
- Hormone therapy is sometimes used to treat breast or prostate cancer. The hormone estrogen can make breast cancer tumors grow faster. Similarly, the hormone testosterone can make cancerous tumors in the prostate grow faster. Drugs that contain other hormones may be used to block the effects of estrogen and testosterone. In other cases, surgery to remove the ovaries or the testicles may be used. Removing these organs reduces the amount of estrogen or testosterone in the body.
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