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Cancer Treatment Methods

Accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI): radiation is limited to the area directly surrounding the cancerous region in the breast. This is an alternative to whole breast irradiation.

Active surveillance (watchful waiting): a strategy of intensive monitoring rather than treatments for prostate cancer.

Biologic therapy: a type of treatment that improves your body’s immune system response and can help control side effects from other treatments.

Brachytherapy (internal radiation therapy): a treatment in which tiny seeds containing radioactive material are inserted into your body. The seeds are left in place in your body and release radiation for a predetermined period of time.

Breast reconstruction: a surgical procedure that creates a breast mound that looks and feels as much as possible like the natural breast. The most popular breast reconstruction option is the implant and tissue expander. Other options include tissue flaps, using your own fat from your lower abdomen, or tissue expanders. Fat injections may be used to fill in deformities left by lumpectomies and mastectomies.

Chemotherapy: a type of treatment that uses drugs to kills cancer cells by stopping or slowing their growth.

Colonoscopy: a procedure in which your colon and rectum are examined.

Cone biopsy: a procedure in which a cone-shaped wedge of tissue in the cervix is removed to biopsy.

CT simulation: this scan is the first step in planning for radiation therapy. The information gathered from the CT scan will be used to create a radiation treatment plan, outlining the parameters for radiation therapy.

Curettage and electrodessication: a surgical procedure in which a tumor is scraped with an instrument called a curette. An electric needle is then used to gently burn the remaining cancer cells.

Excisional surgery: a procedure in which cancer is cut out totally from your skin or other organs.

High-dose radiation therapy: a type of internal radiation therapy in which a high dose of radiation is administered into the tumor.

Hormone therapy: a type of treatment in which medications are used to alter hormone activity.

Hysterectomy: a surgical procedure in which the uterus is removed.

Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT): a type of radiation therapy in which imaging technology is used to precisely locate a tumor prior to treatment to help spare healthy tissue.

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT): a type of radiation therapy that precisely delivers high-energy radiation to a tumor while sparing healthy tissues.

Laparoscopic surgery: a procedure in which operations are performed through small incisions in the abdomen as compared to larger incisions in traditional surgeries.

Laser surgery: a procedure in which a highly focused beam of light cuts or destroys tissue to help reduce bleeding, pain, and recovery.

Linear accelerator: a device that delivers a uniform dose of high-energy X-ray to the tumor to help destroy cancer cells during radiation therapy.

Lobectomy: a surgical procedure in which a lobe of an organ is removed. A lobe may refer to a part of the lung, thyroid, or brain.

Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP): a procedure in which a thin electrified wire loop is used to remove abnormal tissue.

Lumpectomy: a surgical procedure in which a suspected cancerous tumor or lump and a small portion of surrounding tissue are removed from a breast.

Mastectomy: a surgical procedure to remove a breast in cases of breast cancer.

Medical therapy using creams: the use of creams to kill skin cancer cells or stimulate your immune system. These creams may be applied several times a week for several weeks.

Mohs micrographic surgery: a procedure in which a skin cancer is removed one layer at a time until all cancer is removed. Immediately after a layer as been removed, the layer is examined under a microscope to look for cancer cells.

Monoclonal antibody therapy: a type of treatment that uses antibodies made in a lab to treat cancer. These treatments don’t require your own immune system to fight cancer. Monoclonal antibodies are administered through a vein (intravenously).

Nephrectomy: partial or total surgical removal of a kidney.

Pancreactomy: partial or total surgical removal of the pancreas

Partial breast irradiation: radiation is limited to the area directly surrounding the cancerous region in the breast. This is an alternative to whole breast irradiation.

Pneumonectomy: a procedure in which your entire lung that contains cancer is removed.

Radiation therapy: a type of treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells.

Radical inguinal orchiectomy: the removal of one or both testicles.

Radioactive iodine treatment: a type of treatment that involves ingesting iodine to kill most or all of the tissue in your thyroid gland.

Radiofrequency ablation: a procedure in which your doctor guides a needle-like probe inside a tumor. Radiofrequency waves passing through the probe increase the temperature within the tumor, resulting in the destruction of the tumor.

Reconstructive surgery: this type of surgery includes a variety of procedures that can help repair a part of your body. Reconstructive surgeries include breast reconstruction or reductions, surgeries for feet and hands, skin grafting, microsurgery, flap procedures, and facial surgeries to correct facial defects.

Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SNLB): a surgical procedure that removes sentinel lymph node tissue for examination. Sentinel lymph nodes are the first nodes where cancer may spread.

Targeted therapy: the use of drugs or other substances to identify and kill cancer cells while sparing normal and healthy cells.

Video-assisted thoracic lobectomy (VATS): a surgical procedure in which a thin, lighted scope is inserted through a small incision in the chest to remove a lung tissue sample.

Watchful waiting: see Active surveillance

Wedge resection (segmentectomy): a surgical procedure in which a small, wedge-shaped piece of lung tissue that contains cancerous cells is removed.

Whipple procedure: a surgical procedure in which the head of the pancreas, parts of the stomach and small intestine, some lymph nodes, the gallbladder, and the common bile duct are removed. The organs that remain are reconnected in a new way to allow digestion.

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