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All Medical Procedures

During active surveillance for prostate cancer, your doctor closely monitors your prostate cancer for any changes. Active surveillance for prostate cancer is sometimes called watchful waiting.

No cancer treatment is provided during active surveillance for prostate cancer. This means medications, radiation and surgery aren't used. Periodic tests are done to check for signs the cancer is growing.

You might consider active surveillance for prostate cancer if your cancer is small, expected to grow very slowly, confined to one area of your prostate, and isn't causing signs or symptoms.

If you have other health problems that limit your life expectancy, active surveillance for prostate cancer may also be a reasonable approach.

Bone marrow biopsy and bone marrow aspiration are procedures to collect and examine bone marrow — the spongy tissue inside some of your larger bones.

Bone marrow biopsy and aspiration can show whether your bone marrow is healthy and making normal amounts of blood cells. Doctors use these procedures to diagnose and monitor blood and marrow diseases, including some cancers, as well as fevers of unknown origin.

Bone marrow has a fluid portion and a more solid portion. In bone marrow biopsy, your doctor uses a needle to withdraw a sample of the solid portion. In bone marrow aspiration, a needle is used to withdraw a sample of the fluid portion.

Bone marrow biopsy and bone marrow aspiration are often done at the same time. Together, these procedures may be called a bone marrow exam.

Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill fast-growing cells in your body.

Chemotherapy is most often used to treat cancer, since cancer cells grow and multiply much more quickly than most cells in the body.

Many different chemotherapy drugs are available. Chemotherapy drugs can be used alone or in combination to treat a wide variety of cancers.

Though chemotherapy is an effective way to treat many types of cancer, chemotherapy treatment also carries a risk of side effects. Some chemotherapy side effects are mild and treatable, while others can cause serious complications.

Chemotherapy for breast cancer uses powerful drugs to target and destroy breast cancer cells. Chemotherapy for breast cancer frequently is used with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation or hormonal therapy. Combining chemotherapy for breast cancer with other treatments may increase the chance of a cure or decrease the risk of the cancer returning.

If the cancer has recurred or spread, chemotherapy for breast cancer may control the cancer to help you live longer. Or it can help ease symptoms the cancer is causing.

But chemotherapy for breast cancer also carries a risk of side effects — some temporary and mild, others more serious or permanent. Your doctor can help you decide whether chemotherapy for breast cancer is a good choice for you.

Cryotherapy for prostate cancer freezes prostate tissue, causing cancer cells to die. As a minimally invasive procedure, cryotherapy for prostate cancer is sometimes used as an alternative to surgical removal of the prostate gland (prostatectomy).

In the past, cryotherapy for prostate cancer was associated with significantly higher levels of long-term side effects than were other prostate cancer treatments. Advances in the technology of cryotherapy for prostate cancer have reduced these side effects. Most men, however, still experience long-term sexual dysfunction following cryotherapy for prostate cancer.

Cryotherapy for prostate cancer is most often used in men who have early-stage prostate cancer. But cryotherapy for prostate cancer may also be a treatment option in some men whose prostate cancer has returned following other treatments.

Hormone therapy for breast cancer is a treatment for breast cancers that are sensitive to hormones. The most common forms of hormone therapy for breast cancer work by blocking hormones from attaching to cancer cells or by decreasing your body's production of hormones.

Hormone therapy for breast cancer is often used after surgery to reduce the risk that the cancer will return. Hormone therapy for breast cancer may also be used to shrink a tumor before an operation, making it more likely the cancer will be removed completely.

If your cancer has spread to other parts of your body, hormone therapy for breast cancer may help control it.

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer is treatment to stop the male hormone testosterone from reaching the prostate cancer cells in your body. Hormone therapy for prostate cancer is also called androgen deprivation therapy.

Most prostate cancer cells rely on testosterone to help them grow. Hormone therapy for prostate cancer cuts off the supply of testosterone or stops testosterone from reaching the cancer cells, causing cancer cells to die or to grow more slowly.

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer may involve medications, or it can involve surgery to remove the testicles.

Lung cancer screening is a test to look for signs of lung cancer in otherwise healthy people. Lung cancer screening is recommended for older adults who are longtime smokers.

Doctors use a low-dose computerized tomography (CT) scan of the lungs to look for lung cancer. If lung cancer is detected at a very early stage, it may be more likely to be cured.

Discuss the benefits and risks of lung cancer screening with your doctor. Together you can review your risk of lung cancer and decide whether screening is right for you.

Oral cancer screening is an examination performed by a dentist or doctor to look for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in your mouth.

The goal of oral cancer screening is to identify mouth cancer early, when there is a greater chance for a cure.

Most dentists perform an examination of your mouth during a routine dental visit to screen for oral cancer. Some dentists may use additional tests to aid in identifying areas of abnormal cells in your mouth.

Medical organizations disagree on whether healthy people without risk factors for mouth cancer need oral cancer screening. No single oral exam or oral cancer screening test is proved to reduce the risk of dying of oral cancer. Still, you and your dentist may decide that an oral exam or a special test is right for you based on your risk factors.

A Pap smear, also called a Pap test, is a procedure to test for cervical cancer in women. A Pap smear involves collecting cells from your cervix — the lower, narrow end of your uterus that's at the top of your vagina.

Detecting cervical cancer early with a Pap smear gives you a greater chance at a cure. A Pap smear can also detect changes in your cervical cells that suggest cancer may develop in the future. Detecting these abnormal cells early with a Pap smear is your first step in halting the possible development of cervical cancer.