Cancer is a life threatening in which abnormal cells in the body grow uncontrollably destroying normal body tissue. This uncontrollable growth can result in a tumor which can be malignant or benign. A malignant tumor will spread to other parts of the body but a benign tumor wont. The cancer can be in the form of carcinoma, sarcoma, leukemia or lymphomas.
Usually people suffering from cancer experience no symptoms and it is only in the later stages of the disease that the problem comes to the forefront. Diagnosis of the problem is done through a screening test such as mammography, colonoscopy etc. Once the test has detected the presence of cancer, the next step is to get into treatment. Though cancer is a life-threatening disease, still it can be effectively cured if it has been detected early on.
Out of the many types of treatment available for cancer one that is mostly opted because of its abilities to prevent disease from spreading is surgery. This method of treatment is opted when the cancer is only in one particular area. Not only is the cancerous section removed by also tissues close by which contain these cancer cells. This method o treatment is most optimal in situations when cancer has not spread to other parts of the body and is an effective means of curing various types of cancers.
Like this form of treatment is radiation therapy, which also helps to treat cancer that is in one area of the body. It will destroy cancer cells to prevent them from growing. This type of treatment is administered alone else it is used in conjunction with surgery or chemotherapy. Radiation can be given externally through radiation machines else through implants put into the body.
Beyond these two means of giving treatment, what is most commonly given to treat cancer patients is chemotherapy. Here treatment for cancer is given through drugs, which are to be taken either by mouth or through injection. The drug spreads itself throughout the body by flowing in the blood stream. This form of cancer treatment is given for many reasons such as for preventing cancer from spreading, reducing or eliminating cancer cells so that they stop growing, stop certain cancer symptoms, reduce a tumor before doing surgery on it, lower the risk of cancer coming back after surgery and so on.
Stem Cell Transplant
Treatment can also be given through stem cell transplant, wherein patients whose blood forming cells have been destroyed by chemotherapy have them resorted by the introduction of blood forming cells into their body. This type of cancer treatment can be given in the form of autologous or allogenic transplantation. Excepting for cases of multiple myeloma or certain types of leukemia, wherein stem cells helps to directly fight cancer cells, this form of treatment helps the body to recover from the effects of cancer treatment. When the body gets high doses of radiation therapy or chemotherapy, stem cells provide the ability to generate healthy blood cells.
Yet another means of treating cancer is through immunotherapy, wherein the body’s natural defenses are used to fight the disease. Substances generated in the body or in a lab are used to strengthen the body’s immunity system so that it works effectively in destroying cancer cells. This type of treatment also works by stimulating the immune system so that it destroys tumor cells by making use of antibodies. The treatment can be done in the form of passive immunotherapy else through active specific immunotherapy.
In case of breast and prostate cancer what is administered is hormone therapy. When cancer makes use of hormones to grow, this therapy is used to stop its growth. It is mostly used to reduce the size of a tumor before administering radiation treatment or carrying out surgery. It is also used to bring down the risk of cancer reoccurring after main treatment is completed. It also works effectively in destroying cancer cells which have returned after treatment or which have spread to other parts of the body. The hormone therapy can be given in the form of oral drugs else injection. At time, surgery is used to remove the part which is creating hormones that enables cancerous cells to grow.
In targeted treatment, the disease is prevented from spreading using drugs which specifically interfere with molecules that make it to grow and progress.