How is cancer treated?

Every patient is different. If you have cancer, you will have your own personal treatment plan, based on your needs.

Your doctors will take many things into account when they decide which treatment to recommend. For example:

  • the type of cancer you have
  • how big it is
  • how quickly it is growing
  • whether it has spread to other parts of the body – and if so, where to and how much
  • your age and general health
  • your wishes.

Your doctors will talk with you about all your options. You will need to agree to treatment before it can start – this is called giving your consent.

What sort of treatments are there?

The most common cancer treatments are:
  • surgery – an operation to remove the cancer
  • radiotherapy – uses radiation to kill cancer cells
  • chemotherapy – uses special drugs to kill cancer cells
  • hormone therapy – stops some cancer cells from getting or using the hormones they need to grow. This treatment can be used for only a few cancers.

Research is going on all the time to find new ways of treating cancer, or better ways of using the existing treatments. Clinical trials help doctors to find the best treatments for patients.