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How is chemotherapy used to treat cancer?

Cancer can be treated using several methods including surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.

When using chemotherapy (also known as drug therapy) doctors try to kill cancer cells and try to limit the damage to normal cells.

When cancer has spread to other parts of the body, and cannot be detected or treated easily with surgery or radiation therapy, chemotherapy can be useful. Of the roughly 50 anticancer drugs, some are used alone and some are used in combination with other anticancer drugs.

Several types of cancers have been treated successfully with chemotherapy including acute leukemia, small cell lung cancer, Hodgkin's and malignant lymphoma, bladder and testicular cancer as well as other cancers. Chemotherapy can help alleviate symptoms in some types of cancer, can limit the spread of cancer, and can cure cancer in some cases.

Often, chemotherapy is used in combination with radiation and/or surgery with improved results.

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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.