Chemotherapy and Other Treatments

Chemotherapy can be very effective treatment. Even when chemotherapy cannot cure the disease, it can help people live longer and more comfortably. You may choose to have chemotherapy or not, but do consider that living uncomfortably for a short period of time during chemotherapy can help you live longer later, if you succeed in shrinking or eventually killing the cancer.

Chemotherapy may not be the only therapy a patient receives. Often, chemotherapy is used in addition to surgery and radiation therapy. There are several reasons why chemotherapy may be given in addition to other treatment methods. For instance, chemotherapy may be used to shrink a tumor before surgery or radiation therapy. It may also be used after surgery or radiation therapy to help destroy any microscopic collections of cancer cells that may remain. When chemotherapy is used in addition to surgery or radiation therapy, it is called adjuvant therapy.

Your health care provider decides which drug or drugs will work best for you. The decision depends on what kind of cancer you have, where it is, the extent of its growth, how it is affecting your body, and your general health.

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