Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Information About Cancer Treatment
Cancer is medically defined as a class of diseases where a single or a group of cells undergo uncontrolled growth in an abnormal way invading or destructing the other adjacent cells. These abnormal cells might also sometimes spread to other locations of the body through lymph or blood. Cancer treatment is one major achievement in the field of science that aims at increasing the life span of affected patients, controlling the spread of the disease to other locations of the body and to reduces its symptoms.
Though the existence of Cancer can be traced back to as early as 1600 BC, it has been one of the untreatable diseases until lately. Cancer is one of the many diseases in which huge amount of funds are invested for performing research and experiments for various treatment options. After many years of study and clinical trials, finally there are many methods currently that can help contain the spread of the disease and help affected patients lead a better life.
There are many standard and alternative options of Cancer treatments available due to continuous research and long efforts. The standard methods of treatment include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation methods. Along with the standard methods, there are any alternative methods of treatment which aim at providing a relaxation from the disease symptoms.
Most of the types of cancer form a tumor except for few like leukemia. These tumors can be removed by means of surgery to eliminate the cancerous growth from the body. Sometimes in cases of extended damage done by the tumor, the whole organ is removed by means of surgery as a means of preventing further spread or growth. Normally breast cancer and prostrate cancer are treated by this method. This kind of treatment can be used effectively for tumors that do not metastasis or spread across the body. Cancerous growth that has already spread to other parts of the body cannot be contained by means of surgery. Normally a 'Staging' process is carried out prior to surgery to determine the spread levels of the disease to the other parts of the body. This helps decide the level to which surgery might be useful in treating the disease.
In some cases, drugs are administered to stop the spread or growth of the cancerous cell. These drugs are given orally or through intravenous methods to kill the abnormal cells and to keep the disease under control. This method of cancer treatment is known as Chemotherapy. The dosage and the frequency of the drug administration or the chemotherapy process is generally decided by the doctor depending on the patient's health condition and staging results. There are no fixed dosage levels for this process of treating cancer. Though effective, this method has an advantage of being a temporary solution. The drug that is administered does fight the disease and tries to recover the cells, but the effects of it are short-lived. The dosage and the frequency increases with time in this type of treatment method. It is also to be considered that Chemotherapy has its own side effects which might vary based on the patients' health.
Like other types of cancer treatments, the Radiation therapy also aims at destructing the diseased cells and in preventing their spread or growth. In this method, high energy x-rays are used instead of drugs to destroy the abnormal cells. These x-rays damage the DNA of the diseased cells thus killing these cells. The method of radiation therapy is in general done at regular intervals so as to provide enough timelines for the other normal cells that also get damaged to recover well. As we saw the radiation therapy method does hurt other normal cells also along with the diseased ones. The damage that is created on the cancerous cells is more than that created in normal cells and hence the normal cells do not suffer destruction like the diseased cells and recover soon.
In some cases, hormones that help in growth of the tumor are counter attacked by giving drugs that act to inhibit such hormonal actions. This method is followed in the hormonal therapy where hormones that help increase the disease effects and symptoms are inhibited by administration of anti-effect drugs. As an example, estrogen is known to promote growth of diseased cells in breast cancer and hence treatment for breast cancer through hormonal methods includes administration of anti-estrogen drugs to the patient.
There are many new cancer treatment methods that have been recently uncovered by the medical field. Immunotherapy and Transplants are the most popular of all. Immunotherapy is based on the foundation that a strong immune system helps the body fight diseases. In this method, drugs that would help improve the body immunity are prescribed to help the body equip better to fight the disease. Transplants are also common methods of treatment which are normally used in cases of Bone Marrow transplant or stem cell transplant. Other popular but still under research techniques include the Proton therapy, Gene therapy and Biologic therapy.
Alternative or complementary methods of treatments are also available for cancer which is mostly targeted as a means of relief from side effects and pain rather than as a cure. Reiki and Acupuncture offer various methods of treatment that helps patients alleviate pain and other discomforts. The Gerson therapy and the Bovine cartilage are also often used as alternative methods of treatment of cancer.
Though there are many modern and standard treatment methods, the spread of the disease is a key factor in the cure possibility rate. Thus it is important that we equip ourselves with basic knowledge about the symptoms and the prevention techniques for cancer to get rid of it completely. Remember if detected early, cancer is not fatal and can be completely cured.
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