A Brief Overview On 7 Different Cancer Treatments
When my uncle was diagnosed with blood cancer, we were asked to start treatment immediately. We had very little knowledge about the treatment options at the time. It was very overwhelming for us to make a decision but thank goodness, everything worked out well.
But this might not always be the case. After looking at my uncle’s blood cancer case very closely, I decided to learn more about different cancer treatments. I contacted my old friend who is now one of the top Oncologists in Karachi and practicing in a very reputed hospital. She told me about 7 common cancer treatments and their purposes.
It is rare if a patient only needs one treatment to cure cancer. It is mostly a combination of two or more treatments. For example, medication and surgery, and/or chemotherapy. But here is an overview of each of the treatment separately:
It is a procedure where the maximum cancerous tumors are removed from the body through surgery. It may or may not be the complete treatment. Side effects of surgical treatment include pain and a high risk of infection in the area where the surgery is performed.
It is a treatment where drugs are used to either stop the growth of the cancerous cells or to slow down their growth. It can alone be used to treat cancer. The side effects of chemotherapy include nausea, fatigue, hair loss, and mouth sores. But these side effects go away soon after the treatment completes.
It is a procedure where the tumors are subjected to a high dose of radiation which can shrink tumors or kill the cancerous cells. The only drawback of radiation therapy is that there is a limit to the safe lifetime radiation dose which should not be crossed. So some people might not be able to get this treatment if their limit has been crossed for that specific organ or part of the body.
It is a therapy that aids the immune system of the patient and helps them fight cancer. It is made up of white blood cells and organs and tissues of the lymph system. It is a biological therapy that means it is a treatment where the matter extracted from living organisms is used as a treatment. It is rather a less common treatment for cancer. The major side effects of immunotherapy include the cases when the immune system that has been revved-up to act against cancer also acts against healthy cells and tissues in your body.
It is a treatment in which doctors try to stop or slow down the patient’s hormone production in order to stop cancer that grows by using hormones. This procedure is usually used to treat breast or prostate cancer. The side effects of this procedure may vary from person to person but the common side effects for men are nausea, enlarged breasts, loss of sex drive, diarrhea, fatigue, week bones, and hot flashes. While vaginal dryness, loss of interest in sex, nausea, fatigue, mood swings, irregularity in the menstrual cycle, and hot flashes are the symptoms common for women.
It is a treatment that aims to change the cancer cells in terms of growth and division. It is basically a foundation of precision medicine. It can treat most forms of cancer. The common side effects may include liver problems, fatigue, diarrhea, mouth sores, hair loss, and skin problems.
It is a treatment done to retrieve blood-forming stem cells of a cancer patient since these cells usually get damaged during intense chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment. Stem cell transplants are most often used to help people with leukemia and lymphoma. They may also be used for neuroblastoma and multiple myeloma. A common side effect is an increased risk of infection.
The aim of treating cancer is to find a recovery for your cancer that will enable the patient to live a normal life. Depending on the individual case in question, this may or may not be achievable. Your medications can be used to minimize your tumor or delay the development of your cancer if a cure is not available, to enable you to live as long as possible free of symptoms.
Meta Description: There is no fixed therapy for cancer. A patient might need one or more treatments for the cure. Different cancer treatments including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, and stem cell transplant.