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What Treatments Are Available for Cancer?

by emily

With all the innovations happening across the globe, the field of medicine hasn’t been left behind. Much progress is being made in this industry, with multiple treatments evolving to treat the most acute of all diseases, i.e., cancer, and so is the case with cancer-detecting machines. The usage of advanced equipment has made conducting fully body CT scans, wide bore MRIs, and open MRI much easier that helps diagnosing cancers, their types, and stages really well.

With discoveries and breakthroughs in healthcare, deciding what combination of treatments would prove best in helping through your cancer has become critical. Also, it’s an overwhelming process, and it is highly advised to consult expert doctors at every stage of your cancer treatment.

Though determining the right combination of cancer treatments is purely the job of your doctor, you must have some basic information about the available cancer treatments to understand better what you’d be going through. This can help you keep the nerves calmed down and your state of mind clear as you went in for any treatments, knowing what positives and negatives they might bring upon.

Types of Cancer Treatments

There are multiple types of available cancer treatments that you come across as a cancer patient. Some of the popular among them include – 

Chemotherapy – a very common form of cancer treatment; chemotherapy is the process of killing cancer cells or slowing down their growth in your body. There is a wide range of chemo drugs available, and your doctor chooses the one that suits your body and type of cancer the best for treatment. It can be consumed in the form of pills or capsules, or you might also intake chemo drugs via the skin as a cream or get them in the form of an IV or injection at home or hospital, as per your convenience.

The scientific truth that comes along with the usage of chemo drugs is that they kill the cancer cells from your body and slow down their growth but do the same to other fast-growing cells in your body. As a result, the cells in your blood, digestive system, hair follicles, and mouth gets affected by the chemotherapy, and that is why patients undergoing chemo treatments often tend to lose a lot of their hair, gets their digestive system damaged, and become weak overall before they finally recover from cancer.

External Beam Radiation – This is another popular cancer treatment that can be defined as a process of damaging or killing cancer cells by attacking them using high-energy proton and particle therapy or waves. The process is one step innovative than chemotherapy, for it kills and damages cells in a particular part of your body instead of impacting your body as a whole.

The treatment can be done using a machine called External Beam Radiation, designed specifically to kill and damage the cancers cells from a particular part of the human body.  

Internal Radiation – Brachytherapy, an advanced form of external beam radiation where your particular part of the body has cancer cells treated with radioactive implants placed internally. They are the size of a rice grain and are put inside your body where the tumor lies. They are supposed to kill the cancer cells with radiation.

The process is certainly advanced and does not cause many side effects. However, it makes you radioactive for a while, and so, you shall avoid meeting people until the time it’s finished.

Open Surgery – Open surgery is relatively the finest form of cancer treatment available as long as your cancer exists in the form of a solid tumor. The surgery cannot treat cancer that has spread across your blood, such as leukemia.

The process involves your surgeon cutting through the skin using a scalpel and removing the tumor from the part of your body diagnosed with cancer. They’re also likely to take some of the other tissues and lymph nodes for further testing.

You might find it a painful and risky process, but open surgeries are the finest means of getting rid of cancer.

Minimally invasive Surgery – This is a one-step advanced cancer treatment than open surgery and has a relatively shorter recovery time. With the similar goal of open surgery, minimally invasive surgery, also known as laparoscopic surgery, involves making several small holes inside the human body instead of cutting through the area once and large. A tiny camera tube is inserted through one of these holes while tools from the others. It helps to reflect on what’s inside and cut through the tumor from your body and might also take out some other tissues and lymph nodes for further testing during this process. 

It’s a very effective cancer treatment, and most surgeons prefer implementing it because of its efficiency.

Stem Cell Transplant – Stem cells are the ones found in your bone marrow and blood that haven’t transformed into their final form yet, and so, the doctors replace them with the cells that have been killed by other cancer treatments in your bone marrow. Given that, stem cell transplant prepares you for higher frequencies of cancer treatments such as chemo and radiation, etc.

Stem cell transplant is usually carried out via a catheter, such as a blood transfusion. The stem cells might also be helpful in the process of finding and killing the cancer cells from your body.

Precision Medicine – Precision medicine, generally called personalized medication, has brought a new dimension to cancer treatment. It believes that the one-size-fits-all approach couldn’t be followed in treating cancer instead; every patient shall be studied individually based on their genetic makeup to find out what treatment suits them best.

It’s an effective way out of putting people at the risk of catching multiple side effects from the available range of cancer treatments. Through precision medicine is still at the stage of clinical trials, it certainly has some future in rightly treating cancer.

Targeted Therapies – Targeted therapies involve treating cancer cells with stronger medication as chemotherapy. However, they don’t aim at killing all the quickly growing cells from the human body but home on specified parts of the cancer cells, which make them different from the normal ones. The drugs used in targeted therapy often work to stop the blood vessels from growing in the directions of cancer cells and turn off the signals that might help the cancer cells grow. These drugs might also signal your immune system to kill these cancer cells or transform their proteins to let them die.

Final Thoughts – 

There is much advancement being made in cancer, and newer treatments come out every day. However, the best way to decide upon one is consulting a specialist who can best understand your cancer and recommend a treatment based on the diagnosis and your existing body conditions. There’s no doubt that most cancer treatments come up with prominent side effects and that considering patient’s health is crucial before putting them into a treatment process. The ideal way is to get your MRIs, and CT scans done from the most credible laboratories so your diagnosis would be perfect and help the consultants making better treatment decisions.

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