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Cancer Treatments

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Cancer Treatments

Cancer treatments may be used to stop or slow the spread of cancer, reduce the cancer or eliminate cancer altogether. Cancer treatments are given by cancer specialists (oncologists).

The type of treatment depends on many factors related to the patient’s situation and specific cancer type.

Types of Cancer Treatment

There are many types of cancer treatment, and treatments that the oncology team recommends are specific to the type of cancer and its stage (ie. if it has spread or not). Some people with cancer will have only one treatment, but most people will have what is called combination treatment, such as surgery with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.

We have highlighted the most common cancer treatments below. You may also hear about:

  • Immunotherapy: Helps your immune system fight cancer
  • Targeted therapy: Targets the changes in cancer cells that help them grow, divide and spread
  • Hormone therapy: Slows or stops the growth of breast and prostate cancers that use hormones to grow
  • Precision medicine: A growing area of cancer care that helps doctors select treatments that are most likely to help patients based on a genetic understanding of their disease

Chemotherapy or Systemic Therapy 

Chemotherapy involves using medicine (special cancer drugs) to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. At Mount Sinai Hospital, most chemotherapy is given at the Cancer Care Clinic. In some instances, patients may also receive it during a hospital stay.

Radiation Treatment 

Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses high-energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells. Patients at Sinai Health are generally referred to Princess Margaret Cancer Centre or a local centre for radiation.

Surgery as Cancer Treatment 

Many people with cancer are treated with surgery. Surgery treats cancer by removing tumours from the body. Your health care team will discuss options with you.


A very specialized surgical technique used in the treatment of some cancers, like peritoneal mesothelioma.