Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can anti-cancer medication help me live longer?"
I am 40 and caught my cancer early. Still. Will anti-cancer medication help?
It sounds as though you are dealing with some significant medical concerns. A diagnosis of cancer is always very difficult news to receive from your doctor. The best person with whom to discuss the options for treating your disease is your oncologist. Depending upon the type of cancer you have, you may be referred to several different kinds of oncologists. Surgical oncologists are surgeons who help remove primary tumors (such as a colon tumor or a breast cancer)--not every type of tumor can be removed by surgery so not all patients will see these oncologists. Second, radiation oncologists are physicians who help use radiation to treat tumors or, in some cases, try to prevent them from coming back. Again, not all tumors are treated by radiation so depending upon your specific diagnosis, you may or may not see these specialists. Medical oncologists are physicians who treat cancer with medications, or chemotherapy, and from your question it sounds like this has been suggested for your disease. Overall, great progress has been made in the medical options to treat cancers over the last several years. There are some diagnoses where we are more successful than others, but especially for cancers that are caught early, there is often a significant benefit--even if we can't cure the disease--to treating with chemotherapy. You should make sure that you have an oncologist whom you trust and feel like you can ask these questions. For most cancers, there *are* treatment options that can help you continue to live your life for as long as possible.
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