Cancer: Therapy

Table of contents:

Cancer: Therapy
Cancer: Therapy

Video: Cancer: Therapy

Video: Cancer: Therapy
Video: Cancer Treatment: Chemotherapy 2023, December

Cancer: therapy

Modern therapy methods lead to a cure in more than 50 percent of oncological patients. Common cancer therapies are surgery, radiation and chemotherapy as well as so-called biological therapies (e.g. the use of specific antibodies). In addition, targeted pain therapy and nutritional advice are used. Specially trained doctors and psycho-oncologists take care of mental health. Complementary healing methods can also be used depending on the patient's wishes or needs.


  • Continue reading
  • more on the subject
  • Advice, downloads & tools
  • Individual treatment plan
  • Surgery, Radiation & Chemotherapy
  • Accompanying therapies
  • Follow-up care for tumor diseases
  • Cancer rehabilitation

Individual treatment plan

On the basis of the diagnosis, prognosis and possible therapies, a multidisciplinary treatment plan is drawn up by the specialists involved, taking into account the wishes of the patient. At the end of treatment, the whole body is examined again to determine whether the tumor is still present. If the treatment was not immediately successful, a new treatment plan will be created. Rehabilitation and aftercare complement the long-term care of cancer patients. If curative therapy (healing) is not possible, palliative treatment takes place. The focus is on alleviating symptoms, extending life and accompanying them. In any case, consideration for the quality of life is particularly important.

Surgery, Radiation & Chemotherapy

Modern treatment methods such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy or surgery lead to healing in more than 50 percent of all cancer sufferers. Often surgical methods, radiation and chemotherapy are combined with one another.


Surgical measures can already be used for diagnostic purposes and to assess the spread of the tumor. In surgical oncology, attempts are made to remove the tumor - if possible - completely or as far as possible. A bit more than just the cancerous tumor is cut out: a so-called resection edge ensures that as little diseased tissue as possible remains in the body. The histological examination of tissue or cells under the microscope often begins parallel to the operation. This shows whether tissue still needs to be removed.

Depending on the type of cancer, nearby lymph nodes are also examined. Usually the first lymph node in the drainage area, the gatekeeper or "sentinel node", is assessed under the microscope. If this is affected, folgely lymph nodes must also be examined. Metastastas can also be operated on in some cases and thus cured. Surgical measures are also used in palliative therapy. In these cases they do not serve to heal, but to extend life and improve the quality of life. The surgeon will explain the possible risks to you individually before the operation.

Chemotherapy, hormone therapy and biological therapeutics

Classical chemotherapy has a toxic effect on the diseased cells. The acute side effects, which include nausea, vomiting, bone marrow dysfunction, diarrhea and hair loss, are usually well treatable. High-dose chemotherapy involves higher risks, but also greater chances of recovery. Chemotherapy can make tumors disappear completely, shrink them or prevent them from growing. However, chemotherapy treatments are not available for all types of cancer.

The various drugs that are specifically administered for cancer include hormone therapeutics that are used for cancers that are hormone-dependent (e.g. special forms of breast cancer). Special antibodies are usually used as biological therapeutics. So-called biologicals react precisely with molecular structures. These forms of treatment are also used in palliative medicine. The oncological internist explains individually in advance about the treatment and its side effects / (long-term) risks.


In radiation therapy, the diseased tissue is damaged and destroyed by high-energy radiation. Tumor cells are more sensitive to radiation than healthy cells.

There are three types of radiation therapy:

  • Brachytherapy: The radiation is applied directly into the affected tissue or as close as possible. This is done, for example, by placing the radiation source in the middle of the tumor tissue using a special applicator.
  • Teletherapy: The radiation is mostly carried out externally by means of a linear accelerator.
  • Systemic therapy: So-called radionuclides are administered intravenously and reach the tumor.

Certain chemotherapeutic agents that are used for cancer therapy increase the effect of the radiation and are used in combination with radiation therapy. Radiation therapy can cause acute side effects such as nausea, tiredness or local skin reddening. These side effects subside after stopping treatment. Radiation therapy can also cause late side effects, for example impairment of the sense of taste during radiation in the mouth and throat area.

In addition to primarily curative therapy, radiation therapy can also be used in palliative medicine (e.g. pain relief for bone metastases).

Accompanying therapies

Cancer patients often have to reckon with many unpleasant side effects of the disease and therapy such as infections, weakness, weight loss and psychological problems (e.g. depression). In addition, pain often complicates everyday life. Targeted measures such as efficient pain therapy or nutritional advice complement the range of therapies for those affected. Other methods can also help individually. Psycho-oncology, to which several disciplines and professions can belong (e.g. doctors, psychologists with appropriate training), has set itself the goal of providing the best possible psychological support for people with cancer. In addition to conventional therapy, alternative healing methods can also be used (e.g. homeopathy). However, the effectiveness of alternative treatment methods is not always given. It is advisable to pay attention to the respective qualification of the provider and to always inform the attending doctor about additional therapies.

Follow-up care for tumor diseases

Every cancer is accompanied by follow-up care - often for life. Depending on the type and spread of the tumor, different examinations are carried out at specified intervals, e.g. determination of tumor markers, X-rays, etc. The probability of a relapse decreases over time. If five years pass without a relapse, this is considered a cure for many cancers.

Cancer rehabilitation

Already during the cancer treatment and after its completion it is advisable to maintain or restore physical and mental performance through targeted rehabilitation measures. An individual therapy concept for body, soul and social area increases the quality of life in the long term. You can find more information about rehabilitation under Rehabilitation and Cure.

Additional Information:

  • Diet for chemotherapy and radiation therapy
  • Diet in cancer