9 Types of Cancer Treatments Available to Patients

Treatments for cancer come in many forms, and there are a number of ways medical treatments can prevent a cancer from spreading or shrink its existence in the body. Each of these treatments is designed to improve the quality and duration of life for the patient.

Whether it’s a primary treatment or a supplementary therapy, these are the different treatment options available to help patients live as long a cancer-free life as possible.

  1. Surgery

Often the first line of treatment, some cancers can be completely removed through surgical procedures. When a cancer cannot be completely eliminated, the goal of surgery is to remove as much as possible and rely on another cancer treatment to eradicate remaining cancer cells.

  1. Chemotherapy

Specialized drugs have been developed to target and attack cancer cells. Chemotherapy utilizes these drugs to stop and slow the growth of fast-spreading cancerous cells and can shrink tumors that are causing pain and discomfort. Chemotherapy is administered orally, intravenously, through injections, or topically on the skin.

  1. Radiation

High-powered doses of radiation can kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. These energy beams destroy the DNA of cancer cells, which then die and are broken down by your body. Radiation therapy is either transmitted by a machine on the outside of your body or inserted near the source of cancer in a solid or liquid form to treat cancerous cells.

  1. Transplants

From your own bone marrow to donor stem cell transplants, this treatment aims to strengthen your system so that your body can manage a larger dose of other therapies. This treatment can also restore stem cells that have been damaged by other treatments. Stem cell transplants do not fight cancer directly, but they do help your body to recover from other treatments quicker so your treatment plan can be a little more aggressive.

  1. Immunotherapy

Your body’s immune system does not naturally register cancer cells as a threat. This treatment harnesses the biological power of your body’s immune system to fight cancer cells by enabling your white blood cells and lymph system to locate and destroy abnormal cancer cells.

  1. Hormone Therapy

Many types of cancer use naturally occurring hormones in your body as fuel to grow and spread. This therapy works by blocking or preventing the release of cancer-fuelling hormones. Hormone therapies can stop the progression of certain cancers and help to ease their symptoms.

  1. Drug Therapy

Some medications can target certain aspects of cancer cells that allow them to multiply and spread. Targeted drug therapy is administered orally or intravenously to help the immune system attack cancer cells, block the proteins that signal cancer cells to grow, and inject cancer-killing drugs closer to the source.

  1. Cryoablation

Like many other living organisms, cancer cells cannot survive in extreme cold. This therapy uses a long, thin needle to inject a freezing gas into a cancerous tumor. After it’s frozen, the tumor is allowed to thaw and the process is repeated multiple times in one treatment session.

  1. Radiofrequency Ablation

Strong electrical currents have the power to destroy cancer cells, as they generate enough heat to wipe out the abnormal cells. Like in cryoablation, a long, thin needle is used to pierce the skin and deliver high-frequency energy directly into cancerous tissues, where it heats up and the cancer cells die.

Different cancers require different treatment options, but even the way a single cancer can manifest in two different people may dictate which treatment option is best for you. Your doctor will consider your health, preferences, cancer type, and disease severity with you and together you can make an informed decision that weighs both the benefits and risks, including the various side effects, of each treatment option to give yourself the best possible outcomes.