While a cancer diagnosis is frightening, it is not necessarily a death sentence. Modern medicine offers more cancer treatments than ever before. There are more than 10 million Americans who have undergone some form of cancer treatment. The goal of this treatment is always the same: remove all cancer with minimal damage to the rest of the body. Still, no two treatment programs are identical. Each takes the location and severity of the cancer into account. In addition, the mental and physical state of the patient is considered. One method for treating cancer is surgical excision, or removal of the cancer from the affected area. A mastectomy for removing breast cancer is a common example. While surgery can be effective, its usefulness is limited once a cancer has begun to metastasize, or spread, to other areas of the body. In addition, surgery is not an option for people with leukemia and lymphoma, which originate in the bone marrow and lymphatic system, respectively, and therefore do not manifest as tumors. For people whose cancers have spread, or who have one of these blood cancers, radiation therapy may be used to kill the cancer cells. This method uses ionizing radiation, a form of treatment that destroys the genetic make-up, or DNA, of the cells in the target treatment area. The downside to radiation is that it also destroys some healthy cells in the body. However, the majority of these are usually able to recover from the treatments, while targeted cancerous cells which are not native to the body are destroyed. Perhaps the most well known form of cancer treatment is chemotherapy, which involves taking a high dosage of prescription medication to kill cancer cells. Because cancer cells divide and multiply at very rapid rates, these cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs target all cells that behave in this manner. The downside is that chemotherapeutics have the potential to harm healthy tissue with a naturally high replacement rate, such as those found in the intestinal lining. There are other methods of treating and eradicating cancer, many of which are undergoing intensive research by medical scientists. Among them are immunotherapy, which induces the patient's own immune system to fight invading cancer cells, and hormonal therapy, which inhibits the growth of hormone-sensitive tumors, such as those in prostate cancer. In addition, alternative treatments, like yoga, acupuncture, meditation, and visual imagery have become very popular with some cancer patients. In some cases, cancer cannot be eradicated, and, as an alternative to treating the disease, the pain of cancer is treated. Pain medication is also used to curb the side effects of aggressive chemotherapy or radiation. This year, 1.4 million Americans will be diagnosed with some form of cancer. If you or a loved one are among them, speak to your doctor in detail about the treatment options that may be right for you. Want to learn more? Check out other videos and sources on this site for more information.