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Introduction to cancer treatment

Your treatment depends on the type of cancer, where it is in your body, the size and whether the cancer is found in any other part of your body.

The treatment planned by your consultantwill also take into considerationyour general health which includes any ofther health conditions you may have.

You may have different types of treatment so understanding your treatment and the side effects can help you to cope. The following video and information will provide you with further general information about the different reatments available. Your nurse specialist or consultant will give you more specific details about any treatment planned for you.

Different types of treatment

image of cells

There are many forms of treatment for cancer, below are just some of the most common ways to treat cancer.

Chemotherapy uses anticancer (cytoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. Cytotoxic means toxic to cells. Cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs disrupt the way cancers cells grow and divide but they also affect normal cells. This is what causes the side effects of this type of treatment. More detailed information about chemotherapy is available at the following link, this information is published by Macmillan. Understanding Chemotherapy

Radiotherapy uses a type of radiation and uses high energy rays, such as x-rays, to treat cancer cells. It destroys cancer cells in the area where it is given. It can sometimes destroy health cells in the area that is treated, this can cause side effects. More detailed information about radiotherapy is available at the following link, this information is published by Macmillan. Understanding Radiotherapy

Surgery is where surgeon removes all or part of the cancer. It can be used to treat many types of cancer. Sometimes you can have other treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy as mentioned above before surgery. The adddition of these treamtments can often reduce the size of the cancer, making surgery possible or reducing the type of surgery you may need.

Immunotherapies are treatments that use the immune system to find and attack cancer cells. There are different types of immunotherapy. Each one uses the immune system in a different way. 

There are may also be other types of treatment not listed here. You consultant and nurse specialist will provide you with relevant information once your treament plan has been agreed. 

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Please note, if your question needs an urgent response you should contact your clinical team directly.


Question for First Steps Team

The First Steps team aim to respond to your question within a few days. Please bear in mind the information team's working days are Monday to Friday. Any questions submitted may be used anonymously as part of the frequently asked question section of the First Steps website.