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Multi-Modality Therapy  for Cancer

Often, a custom selection of treatment methods may be the best option to combat cancer. This is called Multi-Modality therapy, also known as Combination therapy. Many people like this route because it offers a high level of customization. You and your doctor can create a plan of action based on your unique situation and needs. A common combination of treatments includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. However, one or more of these treatments may be combined with others like targeted therapy, hyperthermia, photodynamic therapy and many more.  

Preparation for Multi-Modality Therapy: Since Multi-Modality therapy can include such a diverse span of treatments, preparation will vary. It’s just as important to ask your doctor how to prepare for the procedures ahead of time as it is to know about each treatment itself.  

Many side effects can be prevented with good preparation. If your skin will be exposed at all to the treatment take good care of your skin ahead of time. Use only mild soaps and ask your doctor about possible reactions of the treatment to soaps and lotions.  

Using multiple treatment methods is a vigorous approach in combating cancer. It’s important to be mindful of this as you approach your first appointment. Eat healthy foods and get plenty of rest. If it’s ok with your doctor, work in some light exercise too.  Giving your body everything it needs will help it repair and recover any healthy cells you lose during treatment. Also, maintain communication with your doctor. Vitamins, supplements, alcohol and over the counter medicine may have a negative impact on your treatment plan so always make sure your doctor is aware of what you are taking. 

Procedure: Many cancer treatments are quick, minimally invasive or even non-invasive. Most can even be done as an outpatient procedure. These include taking drugs or radiation therapy. Bone marrow transplants or surgery are more invasive and complex. They often require a hospital stay and longer recovering times. Your doctor can provide you with exactly what to expect from the Multi-Modality therapy selected for you.  

Types of Multi-Modality Therapy: Since Multi-Modality therapy includes such a wide range of treatment options, possible combinations are nearly endless. Any of the following methods can be used in conjunction with each other. It’s best to discuss them with your doctor to decide which ones will best meet your needs. Chemotherapy uses strong drugs to fight cancer. Surgery aims to physically remove cancerous or pre-cancerous tissue. Radiation uses strong currents or particles of energy to kill or harm cancer cells. Targeted therapy targets cancer cells (usually leaving healthy cells alone) with drugs or other substances. Immunotherapy turns your body’s own immune system against the cancer. Hyperthermia utilizes heat to combat cancer. Photodynamic therapy uses a combination of light and light sensitizing drugs to kill cancerous tissue. Blood transfusions, bone marrow transplants and blood stem cell transplants are all used in fighting cancer as well.   

Recovery time: Depending on the treatments selected, Multi-Modality therapy can vary regarding recovery time. Typically, as you recover you’ll need to continue some of the care needed during your treatment. Get plenty of rest and eat healthy foods to help your body repair itself. You may have to take preventative measures for up to 30 days or even more after your treatments. Common steps to take are staying out of the sun, maintaining a special diet and physical therapy.   

Risks and side effects of Multi-Modality Therapy: Common side effects of most cancer treatments are weakness, stomach upset, headaches, skin problems, hair loss, pain and soreness. It’s important that your doctor is aware of the side effects you are experiencing as they could be signs of something more serious. Side effects vary from person to person and from treatment to treatment so it’s important to discuss all possible risks and side effects with your doctor when undergoing Multi-Modality therapy.