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What are the types of cancer therapies?

There are many procedures and drugs available today to treat cancer, with many more being studied. Some therapies are considered "local" treatments in that they are used to treat a specific tumor or area of the body. Examples of local treatments include surgery and radiation therapy.

Drug treatments are considered "systemic" therapies as they affect the entire body. Examples include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy.

Factors that determine how a cancer will be treated include the type of cancer, how advanced it is, the types of treatments available, and what the goals of treatment are.

The cancer treatment journey can feel overwhelming. Talking with your Oncology team and learning about all the available options can help you feel more confident in moving forward in your treatment journey.

How does Kroger Specialty Pharmacy support my cancer treatment journey?

Kroger Specialty Pharmacy is dedicated to providing you support, education, and guidance throughout your treatment journey. We have access to the most advanced therapies that treat many different types of cancer. Find a full list of oncology and supportive drugs, here.

The treatment plan established by your Oncologist and other members of your healthcare team may consist of one or more combinations of different therapies.

Kroger Specialty Pharmacy dispenses the following types of cancer therapies:


Chemotherapy is given to treat a broad range of cancer types. It works by attacking fast-growing cancer cells and can be used in combination with other cancer treatments.

Chemotherapy, when used with other treatments, can:
  • Make tumors smaller before surgery or radiation therapy
  • Destroy cancer cells that may remain after treatment with surgery and radiation therapy
  • Improve the effectiveness of other treatments
  • Kill cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body or have returned

Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy slows or stops the growth of cancers that use hormones to grow. Examples include some prostate and breast cancers. Hormone therapy is also called hormonal therapy, hormone treatment, or endocrine therapy.


Immunotherapy uses the body's immune system to find and destroy cancer cells. It is designed to give the immune system the "boost" it needs to get rid of the cancer cells. Immunotherapy strengthens the body's cancer-fighting power.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy acts on the genetic changes or mutations that turn healthy cells into cancer cells. Targeted therapy helps healthcare providers treat cancer cells without hurting healthy cells. Healthcare providers sometimes use targeted therapy as the front line or initial treatment. They may also combine targeted therapy with other treatments.

How can you prepare for treatment?

To prepare you for your cancer treatment journey, it is important to know what to expect. The most common cancer treatments consist of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Your treatment plan may include one or more types of therapies. It is essential to ask your healthcare team about the best way to prepare for your treatments.

Some preparation may consist of:
  • Having tests and procedures to make sure your body is ready to receive treatment
  • Discussing the potential to experience side effects and how to manage them

Know Your Pharmacy Phone Numbers

Your specialty pharmacy team can support many aspects of your treatment journey.

Kroger Specialty Pharmacy team members are here to help you:
  • Learn how to take your medication as prescribed
  • Understand how your medication is to be administered and stored
  • Monitor and manage side effects

Know Your Treatment and Plan Ahead

Discuss with your Oncologist the type of therapy you are being prescribed. It is important to understand how you will receive the medication, such as by mouth, injection, or infusion.

For therapies that require infusion in the doctor’s office or clinic, it may be helpful to dress in comfortable clothing and bring along activities to pass the time while receiving treatment.

Items to include in your treatment bag:
  • Blankets, pillow, socks
  • Snacks and beverages, if permitted
  • Books, music, tablet, laptop (ask if the facility has Wi-Fi)
  • Hard candies to help with nausea and dry mouth
  • Complete list of medical history, medications, and allergies
  • Doctors' contact information
  • Name and phone number of an emergency contact

Keep a Notepad or Journal

Keep a notepad or journal to help record your symptoms and track any questions you may have for your doctor.

Build Your Cancer Support Team

Having a cancer support team during your treatment is essential to help you move through this challenging phase. Bringing a partner, whether a family member or a friend, to your doctor’s appointments and treatments offers not only emotional support, but also plays an important practical role. During the appointment, a partner may remember important details or questions that you may forget. In addition to leaning on friends and family, one can join a cancer support group.

Research has shown that joining a support group can improve one’s quality of life during cancer treatment. These groups connect people living with cancer as well as those touched by the disease, providing a supportive network.

Cancer support groups can:
  • Help you cope and feel less isolated
  • Provide you with a community of others who have similar cancer experiences
  • Offer a place to discuss feelings and concerns

Many support groups are available on social media, through hospitals, cancer centers, community groups, and schools. Talking to your healthcare team is a valuable resource as they have much knowledge and may be able to suggest a group that would best meet your individual needs. In addition, KSP’s dedicated Oncology Nurse Specialists are available to support you throughout this journey.

What are tips to keep on track?

Navigating your treatment journey may feel challenging at times. However, understanding what to expect can help give you a sense of empowerment and take charge of your care. At Kroger Specialty Pharmacy, we provide supportive tools and resources to help keep your therapy on track so that you can achieve your treatment goals. Medication adherence, or taking your medications as prescribed, is vital to slow the growth or kill cancer cells.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, these eight tips that may help with medication adherence:
  • Take your medication at the same time every day.
  • Associate taking your medications with a daily routine, like brushing your teeth or getting ready for bed. Before choosing mealtime for your routine, check if your medication should be taken on a full or empty stomach.
  • Keep a “medicine calendar” with your pill bottles and note each time you take a dose.
  • Use a daily pill container. Some have sections for multiple doses at different times, such as morning, lunch, evening, and night.
  • When using a pill container, refill it at the same time each week. For example, every Sunday morning after breakfast.
  • Purchase timer caps for your pill bottles and set them off when your dose is due. Some pillboxes also have timer functions.
  • When traveling, be sure to bring enough of your medications, plus a few days extra, in case your return is delayed.
  • If you’re flying, keep your medication in your carry-on bag to avoid lost baggage. Temperatures inside the cargo hold could also damage your medication.

How can nutrition contribute to my cancer treatment?

Nutrition is an important topic to discuss with your healthcare team while undergoing cancer treatment. Eating healthy foods before, during, and after treatment can help you maintain your strength and support your immune system. Partnering with your healthcare team, a nutrition plan can be developed that focuses on your individual needs.

What are some support resources?


  • American Cancer Society. “American Cancer Society | Information and Resources about for Cancer: Breast, Colon, Lung, Prostate, Skin.” https://www.cancer.org
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). “Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.” www.cancer.net
  • Food and Drug Administration. “U.S. Food and Drug Administration.” https://www.fda.gov