Health Tips from a Mother of Three

4 Common Cancer Treatments

If you've been diagnosed with cancer, you likely have a lot of questions. Cancer is a major diagnosis, but there are treatment options. If you would like to know more, check out these four common cancer treatments. 

1. Surgery

Surgery is a common method to treat cancer because it's direct. During treatment, the surgeon removes all tissue with cancer cells. In some cases, they may also remove some nearby tissue to ensure all cancer cells have been removed.

Some patients may be good candidates for less invasive surgeries. Laparoscopic surgery uses a handful of smaller incisions in the abdomen instead of one large incision. The incisions are used to insert tools and a camera. If you have skin cancer, especially on the face, you may want to ask about Mohs surgery. During this procedure, the surgeon slowly removes thin layers of the cancer, so less healthy tissue is lost.

2. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses special drugs to identify and kill cancer cells, stopping the growth cycle. There are multiple forms of chemotherapy, so your doctor will decide the best course of action for you. Chemotherapy may be used as the primary treatment method, but it's also commonly used along with other treatments to ensure all cancer cells die.

Chemotherapy may be delivered in a variety of ways, including through an IV or injection, orally, or with a topical medication. 

3. Radiation Therapy

As the name suggests, radiation therapy uses radiation to kill cancer cells. Doctors commonly use X-rays, but other types of waves may be used. As with chemotherapy, it may be used along with other treatments. For example, your doctor may recommend radiation therapy to shrink a tumor before surgery, or they may recommend it after surgery to kill any residual cells.

While all treatments can have bad side effects, radiation therapy comes with a lot more, depending on the location. Unfortunately, regardless of the location, many people lose their hair, but other patients may experience:

  • Dry mouth
  • Thick saliva
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Diarrhea

4. Immunotherapy

Your natural immune system fights invaders, including cancer cells. However, in many cases, cancer can slip past these defenses, making your immune system ineffective. Immunotherapy, however, can boost your immune system to make it better fight the cancer cells. Immunotherapy options include:

  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Oncolytic virus therapy
  • T-cell therapy

Cancer can affect anyone, regardless of age or lifestyle. Luckily, there are many treatment options to consider with your doctor. If you would like to know more, contact a cancer treatment provider today.