Many people with cancer have surgery, especially if the cancer seems to be contained in one area (localized). Surgery may be used to remove it along with any nearby tissue that might contain cancer cells.
Like surgery, radiation (RAY-dee-A-shun) therapy is used mostly to treat localized cancers – those contained in one area. Radiation destroys cancer cells or damages them so they can’t grow. It can be used alone or along with surgery or chemotherapy. More than half of all people with cancer get radiation at some point.
Chemotherapy (pronounced KEY-mo-THAIR-uh-pee, but most people call it “chemo”) is treatment with strong drugs that are most often given by mouth or by injection. In most cases, more than one chemo drug is used. Unlike radiation therapy or surgery, chemo drugs can treat cancers that have spread throughout the body because they travel through the bloodstream. It’s given for different reasons, depending on the type of cancer and its stage.