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What is Adjuvant Therapy?

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Updated October 10, 2012

Definition:

Adjuvant therapy is a treatment given along with or after surgery for cancer to reduce the chances that it will come back.

Adjuvant therapy is given to kill cancer cells that remain after surgery but cannot be detected by means such as scanning. For example, lung cancer often has established micrometastases in other places at the time of diagnosis. These might be killed by adjuvant chemotherapy when they are small in number in any given location.

Pronunciation: ad-jew-vent thair-u-pee
Examples:
The doctor thought the tumor was confined to her lung, but recommended adjuvant therapy to lower her risk of it coming back.

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