A variety of treatment options are used to fight cancer, including:
Chemotherapy is a treatment option using drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemo works by slowing or stopping the development of cancer cells, which usually grow and divide very quickly. By destroying these fast-growing cells, chemotherapy also attack cells in the body that naturally grow quickly, such as those crossing the mouth, intestines and hair. This can cause a number of side effects that tend to fade after chemotherapy has ended.
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
Surgery is used to diagnose, treat and sometimes even prevent cancer. Most cancer patients will have some type of surgery during the course of their treatment.
Transplantation of stem cells or bone marrow is used in a number of cancers to help restore stem cells that have been destroyed through high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
The National Cancer Institute has more information about what cancer treatment options are available.