What are the different types of cancer treatment?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

The types of treatment used most often to treat cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell transplantation. Doctors use these treatments to destroy cancer cells. Depending on the type of cancer, children may have one kind of treatment or a combination of treatments. Most children receive a combination of treatments, called combination therapy.

Treatments for cancer often cause unwanted or unpleasant side effects such as nausea, hair loss and diarrhea. Side effects occur because cancer treatment that kills cancer cells can hurt some normal cells, too. As your child begins treatment, you may want to keep the following in mind.

The kinds of side effects and how bad they will be depend on the kind of drug, the dosage and the way your child's body reacts. The doctor plans treatment so that your child has as few side effects as possible. The doctor and treatment team have ways to lessen your child's side effects. Talk with them about things that can be done before, during and after treatment to make your child comfortable. Lowering the treatment dosage slightly to eliminate unpleasant side effects usually will not make the treatment less able to destroy cancer cells or hurt your child's chances of recovery. Most side effects go away soon after treatment ends.

Remember that not every child gets every side effect, and some children get few, if any. Also, how serious the side effects are varies from child to child, even among children who are receiving the same treatment. The doctor or treatment team can tell you which, if any, side effects your child is likely to have and how to handle them. If you know what side effects can occur, you can recognize them early.

This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.

There are different types of treatments for cancer. The treatment used depends on the type of cancer and where it is in the body. Surgery can be used to cut out some cancers. Other treatments destroy cancer cells. For example, chemotherapy, or chemo for short, uses medicine to destroy cancer cells. Radiotherapy uses powerful energy beams to kill cancer cells. Immunotherapy helps the immune system fight cancer cells. Sometimes a combination of treatments is used.

When treating cancer patients, all types of treatment might be used. Consult your doctor and specialists to find out what treatment is right for you.

Continue Learning about Cancer Treatment

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Multiple Myeloma Recurrence
Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Multiple Myeloma Recurrence
Multiple myeloma, the second most common blood cancer, is considered an incurable disease. That means, unfortunately, that even after extensive treatm...
Read More
How can I manage nausea and vomiting during cancer treatment?
Aurora Health CareAurora Health Care
Follow these tips to control nausea and vomiting: Wear loose-fitting clothing. Use a cool-mist...
More Answers
What can help teach the body's immune system to fight cancer?
Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF)Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF)
A critical first step in treating ovarian cancer is to help the cancer-fighting immune cells recogni...
More Answers
What Are the Most Important Advances in Cancer Treatment?
What Are the Most Important Advances in Cancer Treatment?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.