Introduction to Clinical Oncology
Cancer Treatment

Cancer Treatment


Cancer treatment can be:

  • curative

  • adjuvant

  • neoadjuvant

  • palliative

Curative treatment is given with the intent to eradicate all disease - to cure the patient. 


Adjuvant treatment  is additional treatment given after another treatment such as surgery, it is treatment after all detectable disease is gone... an insurance policy against micrometastatic disease.  Remember that we can detect disease at 3-5 mm but this still represents millions of cells. 

Neoadjuvant treatment is when one treatment is given before another for example chemotherapy to decrease tumour bulk before surgery.  Treatments given at the same time are given concurrently, for example chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Palliative treatment is given to decrease the severity of disease or to alleviate specific symptoms, it is not given to cure or eradicate disease.