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Making Cancer Treatment Decisions

The number and kinds of treatment choices you have will depend on the type of cancer, the stage of the cancer, and other factors, such as your age, current health status, and personal needs. You are a key part of your cancer care team – you should talk about what treatment choices are best for you. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you like. Make sure you understand your options. A cancer diagnosis almost always makes people feel they must get treatment as soon as possible. But you usually have plenty of time to think through all the options available so you can make the best possible choice.

How is cancer treated?

The 4 major types of treatment for cancer are surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and biologic therapies. You might also have heard about hormone therapies, such as tamoxifen, and transplant options, such as those done with bone marrow.

What treatment will be best for me?

Your cancer treatment will be based on your situation. Certain types of cancer respond better to certain types of treatment, so knowing the type of cancer you have is an important step toward knowing what treatments will work the best. The cancer’s stage (how widespread it is) will also determine the best course of treatment.

Your health, lifestyle, and personal preferences will also play a part in deciding what treatment will be best for you. Not all types of treatment will work in your situation, so be sure that you understand your options. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s your right to know what treatments are most likely to help you and what their side effects may be.