Preparing for treatment and life afterwards (prehabilitation)

There are things you can do to help you feel more in control of your physical and mental health when preparing for treatment. In the hospital, preparing for treatment is also called prehabilitation or prehab.

Treatment by cancer type

We have specific treatment information for each cancer type. Choose the cancer type you want to find out about the treatment from this A-Z list of treatments by cancer type. 

Cancer drugs A to Z list

There are many cancer drugs, cancer drug combinations and they have individual side effects.


Chemotherapy is a standard treatment for some types of cancer. It uses anti cancer drugs to destroy cancer cells. 

Cancer drugs

Find out about individual cancer drugs, cancer drug combinations, possible side effects and how to cope with them.

Surgery for cancer

Surgery is one of the main treatments for many types of cancer. Find out about when and why you might have it and what to expect before and after your operation.


Find out about cancer treatment with radiotherapy, including external radiotherapy, internal radiotherapy, side effects, radiotherapy for symptoms and follow up after treatment.

Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy blocks or lowers the amount of hormones in the body to stop or slow down the growth of cancer.

Stem cell and bone marrow transplants

Stem cell or bone marrow transplants are treatments for some types of cancer including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. You have them with high dose chemotherapy and sometimes radiotherapy.

Targeted cancer drugs

Targeted cancer drugs work by ‘targeting’ those differences that help a cancer cell to survive and grow. Find out more about what they are and the different types.


Immunotherapy uses our immune system to fight cancer. It's a standard treatment for some types of cancer and is in clinical trials for other types of cancer. Find out more about it.

What is personalised medicine?

Personalised medicine involves using information about a person’s cancer to help diagnose, treat and find out about how well treatment is working.


Bisphosphonates are drugs that can help prevent or treat bone loss and reduce the risk of fractures. There are several different types of bisphosphonates, and they each work slightly differently. 

Other treatments

These are cancer treatments using medical technologies (interventional treatments) including laser treatment, photodynamic therapy and cryotherapy.

Complementary and alternative therapies

The phrases complementary therapy and alternative therapy are often used as if they mean the same thing. They may also be combined into one phrase – complementary and alternative therapies (CAMs). 

Palliative treatment

In advanced cancer, palliative treatment might help someone to live longer and more comfortably, even if they cannot be cured. The palliative care team can support people with any stage of cancer and help with symptoms or side effects of treatment.

Access to treatment

There are several decisions to be made about a cancer treatment before you can have it on the NHS or HSC.

Last reviewed: 
15 Jul 2021
Next review due: 
15 Jul 2024