Leksell Gamma Knife In addition to the treatments listed above, cancer also may be treated by adjuvant therapy and prophylactic or preventive treatment. Adjuvant therapy combines two or more treatments. Prophylactic or preventive treatment is given even when the cancer has not appeared, or all the cancer is thought to have been removed, if there is a significant statistical risk that the cancer will reappear later.

Specific treatment for cancer will be determined by your physician(s) based on:

  • your overall health and medical history
  • extent of the disease -- type, grade, stage, and location
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference

The four goals of treatment are:

  • successful treatment
  • prevention of cancer recurrences
  • prolonged life
  • palliation

Palliation is treatment for a symptom of the cancer, such as pain. It is not a treatment for the cancer itself. The goal of palliation treatment is to improve the quality of life, not longevity.

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