Skip to content

    Cancer Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Cancer Treatment: What Are the Options?

    If you’ve recently learned you have cancer, you probably have a lot on your mind. Your doctor may have recommended a treatment plan, and you might worry about what’s involved and how it will make you feel.

    It’s normal to be nervous or afraid. One way to ease some of your worries is to learn as much as you can about the treatment and what to expect afterward. It can also give you a sense of control over your disease.

    Recommended Related to Cancer

    Overview

    Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a plant grown in many parts of the world which produces a resin containing compounds called cannabinoids. Some cannabinoids are psychoactive (acting on the brain and changing mood or consciousness) (see Question 1). The use of Cannabis for medicinal purposes dates back to ancient times (see Question 3). By federal law, the use, sale, and possession of Cannabis is illegal in the United States. However, a growing number of states and the District of Columbia...

    Read the Overview article > >

    You and your doctor will decide what treatment is best for you based on the type of cancer you have, where it is in your body, and how far it has spread, called the stage of your disease. But in general, there are a few types of treatment that work for many different kinds of cancer.

    Here’s a look at some of the options you might have.

    Surgery

    Most people with cancer will have some type of surgery. The main goal is to remove tumors, tissue, or areas with cancer cells, such as lymph nodes. Doctors also may do it to diagnose the disease or find out how serious it is.

    In many cases, surgery offers the best chance of getting rid of the disease, especially if it hasn’t spread to other parts of the body.

    Along with a traditional operation, doctors can also fight some types of cancer with:

    • Laser surgery (beams of light)
    • Electrosurgery (electric currents)
    • Cryosurgery (very cold temperatures to freeze cancer cells)

    You'll get medication to block pain during and after your surgery. You might also get other meds, such as antibiotics to lower the risk of infection.

    Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. There are two ways to get it:

    “Traditional” Chemotherapy

    You get most chemo medications through an injection into a vein.

    But you can get some types as a shot in your muscle, under your skin, or as an ointment or cream to put on your skin.

    The side effects vary from person to person, even if you have the same type of cancer and get the same treatment as someone else. Some of the most common issues are:

    • Fatigue
    • Vomiting
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea
    • Hair loss
    • Mouth sores
    • Pain

    Today on WebMD

    Colorectal cancer cells
    New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
    Lung cancer xray
    See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
     
    sauteed cherry tomatoes
    Fight cancer one plate at a time.
    Ovarian cancer illustration
    Real Cancer Perspectives
     
    Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
    Blog
    what is your cancer risk
    HEALTH CHECK
     
    colorectal cancer treatment advances
    Video
    breast cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    prostate cancer overview
    SLIDESHOW
    lung cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    ovarian cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    Actor Michael Douglas
    Article