Cancer Treatment Principles
The main goal is to get rid of your cancer. This can happen with one type of treatment (such as surgery) or a mix of treatments, such as surgery and chemotherapy (medicine that destroys cancer cells) and radiation therapy.
If it isn’t possible to remove your cancer, doctors will try to shrink it, make you more comfortable, and lessen your symptoms to help you feel better.
Treating cancer is complex, and doctors and other healthcare professionals work together as a team. Your team may include primary care doctors, specialists, surgeons, radiation therapists, nurses, social workers, and pharmacists.
Your doctors will choose the type of treatment (called a treatment protocol) that’s best for your cancer.
Doctors decide on the best treatment for your cancer based on:
Talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of different treatments.
Treatment protocols are standard methods developed by doctors to treat certain types of cancer. These plans have been tested carefully in research studies called clinical trials. In clinical trials, doctors compare new drugs and treatments with standard treatments to help tell whether the new treatments work better. Many people with cancer are offered the chance to be in a clinical trial. Talk with your doctor about the advantages and disadvantages of being in a trial.
Doctors will check to see how well your treatment is working to fight cancer. During your treatment, doctors may:
Do scans (such as CT scans) to see if your tumors have shrunk
Do blood tests to check your levels of tumor antigens (called tumor markers for certain cancers) in your blood
If treatment works on your cancer, you may have: