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Once a diagnosis has been made, and cancer has been confirmed, the next part of the cancer journey is the treatment phase. There are three main ways to treat cancer: surgery, cancer drugs (chemotherapy), and radiation. While surgery entails the removal of tumours, the goal of chemotherapy and radiation is to stop or slow the growth of cancer cells.

The course of treatment is determined not only by the type and stage of cancer, but also by what treatments and services the patient chooses. What happens varies from patient to patient. Some may undergo one type of treatment, others a combination. Some might be placed in clinical drug trials. The process for treatment and recovery may take weeks, months, or years.

Cancer Survival

The most positive indication that advances in treatment, prevention and screening are working is that survival rates for the most common cancers have improved significantly.

Almost all prostate cancer patients, and about 90% of breast cancer patients are living more than five years after diagnosis. Overall, cancer mortality rates in the province are expected to decline in the next 10 years by 11% for men and 6% for women. By the year 2017, it is projected that the number of Ontarians who will be living with cancer diagnoses within the past ten years will be about 400,000. This is a 40% increase from 2004.

Much more work, however, needs to be done to improve survival from other types of more aggressive cancers.

Last modified: Fri, Feb 19, 2010
cancer care ontario | action cancer ontario   620 University Avenue Toronto Ontario, Canada M5G 2L7   Phone: 416.971.9800 Fax: 416.971.6888

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