The three major methods of treatment for cancer are surgery, irradiation, and chemotherapy. Each has been shown to have considerable efficacy in the therapy of selected cancers, and each has its own advantages and toxic effects. It was realized early that the combined use of these approaches in a fashion carefully designed to optimize their advantages and interactions might produce better results than the use of any approach alone. Both practical and theoretical considerations made combined treatment attractive. When the complete surgical removal of a tumor involved loss of an extremity or of a nonvital organ, such as the rectum.
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