Types of Treatment Overview

From the National Cancer Institute


There are many types of cancer treatment. The types of treatment that you receive will depend on the type of cancer you have and how advanced it is.

The main types of cancer treatment include:


A procedure in which a doctor with special training, called a surgeon, removes cancer from your body.

Radiation Therapy

Uses high doses> of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.


Uses drugs to kill cancer cells.


Helps your immune system fight cancer.

Targeted Therapy

Targets the changes in cancer cells that help them grow, divide, and spread.

Hormone Therapy

Slows or stops the growth of cancer that uses hormones to grow.

Stem Cell Transplant

Procedures that restore blood-forming stem cells in people who have had theirs destroyed by high doses of cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Some people with cancer will have only one treatment. But most people have a combination of treatments, such as surgery with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. When you need treatment for cancer, you have a lot to learn and think about. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and confused. But, talking with your doctor and learning about the types of treatment you may have can help you feel more in control. Our Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Treatment  may help.

CancerHelp Online® is a patient education program of The CancerHelp Institute, official Content Distribution Partner of the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

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