What is Adjuvant therapy in Cancer treatment?

Dr.Rahul S.Kulkarni

✓Adjuvant therapy is additional cancer treatment given after the primary treatment like surgery to lower the risk that the cancer will come back. 
✓Adjuvant therapy may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy. 
✓Even if your surgery was successful at removing all visible cancer, microscopic bits of cancer sometimes remain and are undetectable with current methods.Adjuvant therapies help to eradicate these micrometastases and reduce the chances of cancer recurrence.
*Types of cancer treatment that are used as adjuvant therapy include:
• Chemotherapy
• Hormone therapy
• Radiation therapy
• Immunotherapy
• Targeted therapy
✓When used as per standard evidence based guidelines and appropriate indications, adjuvant therapy definitely reduces the chances of cancer recurrence as compared to no treatment.
*Adjuvant therapy is most commonly used in following cancers after primary treatment
1) Breast cancer
2) Colorectal cancers
3) Gastric cancers
4) Pancreatic and gall bladder cancers
5) Lung cancers
6) Certain types of soft tissue sarcomas
7)    Gynecological cancers
8) Head and neck cancers
✓Duration and form of adjuvant therapy is decided based on the type of cancer,stage of cancer and molecular characteristics of the tumour.
✓The choice and need of adjuvant therapy needs to be individualized on case to case basis and weighing the risks and benefits of treatment as per evidence based guidelines.
✓Adjuvant therapies also benefit equally in elderly if used carefully and with appropriate modifications and supervision.
✓In some selected early stage breast and colon cancer cases,adjuvant therapy can be safely avoided only after specific molecular testing and thorough assessment by Oncologist.
*Do not run away from treatment just because of fear.
Talk with your Oncologist !!

Dr.Rahul S.Kulkarni
MD,DM(Medical Oncologist)
Consultant Medical Oncologist
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Disclaimer: The information provided here should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. The information is provided solely for educational purpose and should not be considered a substitute for medical advice.