Many chemicals are continuously being screened as antitumor agents. Advances have been made to envisage site-specific delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs which can effectively reduce problems associated with drug resistance and toxicity. Tremendous progress has beenmade in the exploitation of the photothermal properties of gold nanoparticles in therapeutics. Nanoparticles of gold, which are in the size range 10-100nm, undergo a plasmon resonance with light. This is a process whereby the electrons of the gold resonate in response to incoming radiation causing them to both absorb and scatter light. This effect can be harnessed to either destroy tissue by local heating or release payload molecules of therapeutic importance. Gold nanoparticles can also be conjugated to biologically active moieties, providing possibilities for targeting to particular tissues. We describe the recent studies regarding synthesis and use of such metal nanoparticles for early cancer detection and treatment.