What is combination cancer therapy?
Combination cancer therapy is when doctors treat your cancer with more than one type of treatment. The combination may be a mix of surgery Surgery for Cancer Cancer surgery is when doctors operate on you to cut out your cancer. Usually, doctors operate only when: The cancer hasn't spread (metastasized) anywhere Your body is strong enough to go through... read more , radiation therapy Radiation Therapy Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses beams of radiation to destroy cancer cells and shrink cancer tumors. Doctors use radiation to treat many types of cancer, including head, neck... read more (uses high energy to shrink cancer tumors and destroy cancer cells), and chemotherapy Chemotherapy Chemotherapy is a medicine that destroys cancer cells. Chemotherapy works by shutting down cell growth. But since all cells in the body grow, chemotherapy medicines also destroy some normal... read more (medicines to destroy cancer cells).
Doctors may give you several types of chemotherapy medicine at once (combination chemotherapy)—each medicine works differently to destroy your cancer cells, so they destroy more cancer cells together
Doctors may also treat your cancer with several types of treatment—for example, both chemotherapy and surgery
Doctors decide whether to use single or combination therapy depending on your stage and type of cancer
Why do doctors use combination cancer therapy?
Some cancers can’t be treated with just surgery or radiation therapy
Surgery or radiation therapy can treat a tumor in one part of your body, while chemotherapy treats cancer cells that have spread to other parts of your body
Radiation therapy or chemotherapy can shrink your tumor before surgery, so less of it has to be cut out
After surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy can help destroy cancer cells that a surgeon couldn't remove
Combination chemotherapy can help lengthen your life and lessen your symptoms