Aside from surgery, chemotherapy is one of the longest used and most common treatments for cancer. In most cases, chemotherapy works by interfering with cancer cells’ ability to grow and reproduce. For some types of cancer, chemotherapy may be used alone or in combination with other treatments such as radiation or surgery. A combination of chemotherapy medicines is typically used to fight a specific cancer.
While chemotherapy can be quite effective in treating certain cancers, the medicines reach all parts of the body, not just the cancer cells. Treatment can result in many side effects. Being prepared for these side effects can help you and your caregivers manage them effectively.
Chemotherapy can be given in various ways, such as:
- A pill to swallow
- An injection directly into a body cavity
- An injection (shot) into the muscle or fat tissue
- Directly into the bloodstream or intravenously (also called an IV)
- Topically (applied to the skin)
Radiation therapy is a treatment for cancer that uses high-energy X-rays. A machine directs the rays of energy to the area of cancer, with a goal to kill or shrink cancer cells. Learn more about our Radiation Oncology services.
The primary treatment for bone cancer is surgery. The main goal of this procedure is to completely remove the cancer, as even a few cancer cells left behind can grow and multiply to create a new tumor. To be sure that all cancer cells are gone, surgeons typically perform a wide excision, a procedure to remove the tumor plus some healthy surrounding tissue. A wide excision with no cancer detected on the remaining edges of tissues, also known as a clean margin, minimizes the risk that the cancer will return.