Your Cancer Treatment Options

The type of treatment you need will depend on the type of cancer you have and the stage of your cancer.

The goal of the treatment may be to remove or shrink the tumour, destroy cancer cells that may have spread, reduce the chance that the cancer will come back or help you deal with symptoms caused by certain cancers.

There are several different types of cancer treatments. They include:

  • Surgery
  • Cancer medicines
  • Radiation therapy
  • Stem cell transplants

Combination of Treatments

You may receive just one of the above treatments or a combination of more than one type of treatment. Surgery, for example, may be followed by chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Your doctor will give you more details about different treatments.

Complementary Therapies

Many people with cancer use complementary therapies to help them deal with the effects of the disease and treatment. Examples of complementary therapies include acupuncture/acupressure, aromatherapy, therapeutic touch, massage therapy, music therapy, relaxation/imagery and meditation.  It is your decision whether or not to use complementary therapies. It is important to inform your health care team about any therapies you are using.

Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies are different from conventional medicines. Conventional medicines have been tested scientifically to show what benefit they have in the treatment of disease and are prescribed by a doctor. Alternative therapies have not been tested in the same way. Alternative therapies might include herbal remedies (e.g. St. John's Wort, shark cartilage, Essiac Tea, ginseng), high-dose vitamin and mineral supplementation, natural products (e.g. homeopathic preparations), and traditional medicines for other cultures (e.g. Chinese or Aboriginal medicines).

Not enough research has been done to show whether these therapies are effective. Some can be harmful.  It is very important to keep your doctor informed about any alternative therapies or treatments you intend to use. That way you can both watch for side effects or for problems that might result from mixing medicines and alternative therapies.

Cancer Medicines .

All cancer medicines travel through your bloodstream and are carried throughout your body to the cancer cells.

Radiation Therapy .

Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses ionizing or high-energy radiation. Radiation can be given both externally (delivered from outside the body) or internally (taken orally or injected into the body).

Stem Cell Transplant Therapy .

The goal of a stem cell transplant is to prolong (lengthen) disease remission or, in some cases, to cure the disease.

Surgery .

Surgery means having an operation to change or remove body tissue or organs. For certain types of cancer, surgery is the best treatment.

Out of Province Treatment .

In some cases a second opinion or treatment in another province may be desired or necessary.

Understanding Your Treatment .

The following information may help you to better understand what to expect during chemotherapy at the Allan Blair Cancer Centre and Saskatoon Cancer Centre.