Medical Definition of Adjuvant therapy

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/4/2018

Adjuvant therapy: Treatment that is given in addition to the primary (initial) treatment.

Adjuvant treatment is an addition designed to help reach the ultimate goal. Adjuvant therapy for cancer usually refers to surgery followed by chemo- or radiotherapy to help decrease the risk of the cancer recurring (coming back).

In Latin "adjuvans" means to help and, particularly, to help reach a goal.

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Reviewed on 12/4/2018