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What Is Advanced Cancer?

Can Advanced Cancer Be Treated?

Just because advanced cancer isn't curable, it doesn't mean it's not treatable. In some cases, treatment can help slow down the growth of the cancer. Treatment may also help relieve symptoms and help you live longer. Even though you have received the diagnosis of advanced cancer, it doesn't mean you may not live for many more years. Each person's situation is unique, and you may respond differently to treatments than someone else who has the same type of cancer.
Treatment will vary, depending on many factors, including when you first learn of the disease. For some people, the cancer may not become advanced until years after the initial diagnosis. For others, the cancer may already be advanced as soon as they learn they have it. Regardless, as advanced cancer grows, it can cause symptoms that may require treatment to help keep the problems managed as best as possible.
Even if the cancer no longer responds to treatment, symptoms can often be treated. Treating the symptoms can help you enjoy life and feel as good as you possibly can, for as long as you can.
A number of different treatment options may be available to help relieve your cancer symptoms. Some of these include:
  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy to shrink tumors and reduce pain
  • Medications, such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy
  • Alternative therapy, such as special diets, massage, meditation, or acupuncture.
In some cases, there may also be an option to join a clinical trial. These are carefully controlled research studies that consist of volunteer participants. Clinical trials are done to help study new treatments or procedures. However, you must meet certain requirements to take part in a clinical trial, so talk to your healthcare provider about whether this would be an option for you.
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