- Cure. Ideally, all cancer cells are killed or removed from the body and do not return.
- Control. If cure is not possible, the goal of treatment is to control the disease in order to extend life while preserving its quality as much as possible.
- Palliate. If the cancer is advanced, the main goal is to maintain quality of life without attempting to extend it.
- External beam therapy, in which a beam of radiation from a treatment machine is directed to limited parts of the body to kill the primary tumor and/or to kill microscopic tumor deposits in the areas near the tumor, such as regional lymph nodes. Stereotactic radiosurgery is another method of delivering very highly directed high doses of radiation to a limited area in order to treat cancer and limit the injury to surrounding tissues.
- Brachytherapy, in which radioactive material—sealed in a thin wire, catheter, or tube—is surgically placed directly into or near the tumor.
- Intraoperative radiation therapy , which combines radiation and surgery. After the surgeon removes as much of the tumor as possible, a large dose of radiation is given directly to the tumor bed and nearby areas.
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT), in which photosensitizers, or light-sensitive molecules, are injected into the bloodstream and absorbed by cells throughout the body, but preferentially cancer cells. Later, when the cancer cells are exposed to laser light, the photosensitizers are activated resulting in cell damage and death.
- Hyperthermia, in which body tissues are exposed to high temperatures (up to 106 degrees F) in an effort to damage cancer cells and make those that survive more sensitive to the effects of radiation.
Assessing Treatment Effectiveness
- Response rates
- Survival rates
- Dose-limiting toxicities
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- Reviewer: Igor Puzanov, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 09/26/2012 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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