NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults - page 39

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NCCN Guidelines for Patients
®
: Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults
Version 2013
Part 4: Navigating the treatment process
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Local therapies include surgery and radiation therapy, while systemic treatments
include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immune therapy (treatment that uses
the immune system to fight disease), all of which will be discussed in Part 5. For
some patients, the best option for primary therapy may be a clinical trial of a new
treatment or medication.
After the primary therapy is complete, your doctor will run many of the same tests
used during diagnosis to see whether the treatment has succeeded in removing
or controlling the cancer. If there are no signs of cancer, you may be declared
to be in complete remission. If some, but not all, signs and symptoms of cancer
have disappeared it may be called a partial remission. If the cancer has grown or
spread to other places in your body, it means the cancer has progressed.
A complete remission is great news, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that every
single cancer cell has been destroyed. This is why additional rounds of treatment
are often recommended even after successful local or systemic treatments.
Adjuvant therapy
Adjuvant therapy is systemic therapy that is given after a tumor (or tumors) has
been surgically removed or destroyed by radiation. The goal is to get rid of any
remaining cancer cells and prevent an possible recurrence of the cancer. Adjuvant
therapy may include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or immune therapy, either
alone or in combination.
Consolidation therapy
Consolidation therapy—sometimes called intensification or postremission
therapy—is meant to consolidate (or strengthen) the success of primary therapy
and sustain the remission. Consolidation therapy may include radiation therapy,
chemotherapy, or a stem cell transplant, and is usually given for a relatively
brief time.
Definitions
Chemotherapy:
Drugs
that kill all rapidly dividing
cells in the body, including
cancer cells and normal
cells
Leukemia:
Cancer of the
blood-forming tissue (bone
marrow)
Lymphoma:
Cancer
that begins in cells of the
immune system
Radiation therapy:
Use
of high-energy rays to kill
cancer cells
Side effect:
An unplanned
physical or emotional
response to treatment
Stem cell transplant:
Replacing damaged stem
cells (immature blood-
forming cells) in the bone
marrow with healthy cells
Targeted therapy:
Drugs
that specifically target and
kill cancer cells
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