Cancer Treatments Overview
Cancer can strike any gender or age group. Depending on the cancer type, various cancer treatments may be initiated in an effort to eradicate or kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy treatment, radiotherapy treatment, and breast cancer surgery are the most common types of treatments that battle multiple forms of cancer. However, cancer treatments vary according to the stage of cancer is discovered, as well as location and overall health of the patient. Cancer staging is typically defined as Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3 and Stage 4, ranging from early and localized to those that have spread throughout the body.
Depending on the cancer types discovered, physicians will determine which options or alternative cancer treatments are best in every situation. In some cases, a patient may have a choice of procedures or treatments, while other times, they will not. Certain factors will determine which treatment will provide optimal results, including what type of cancer tumor, what organs or tissues are affected, as well as what stage of cancer is in. The earlier the stage of cancer treatment development, the better for treatment prognosis. Overall health and age may also factor in to cancer treatment plans.
Chemotherapy involves the use of medications to attack and kill cancer cells. Many people experience side effects such as hair loss, nausea, and weight loss with chemotherapy treatment. However, new advancements in medications have helped to reduce many of the side effects formerly associated with chemotherapy radiotherapy. This type of treatment is used when cancer has metastasized, or spread to other areas within the body. In many cases, it is used in conjunction with cancer surgery and radiation therapy treatment. In most cases, chemotherapy radiotherapy will be initiated after surgery of cancer has removed the cancer tumor or tissues from the body.
A specific type of x-ray called radiation therapy treatment is involved in radiotherapy cancer treatment. This type of treatment damages or disables cancer cells through the use of radiation, which prevents certain cancer cells from multiplying. This treatment for cancer is painless and is generally used when a cancer tumor is located in a specific area and has not spread to other parts of the body. As with chemotherapy radiation treatments and cancer radiotherapy treatments may cause side effects such as nausea, hair loss, and weight loss.
New cancer treatments have been designed to use proteins to initiate the immune system to produce increased amounts of white blood cells that attack viruses, bacteria and cancers, through what is called biological therapy. T cells and B cells, typically called "warrior cells", are encouraged to multiply through the implementation of excess protein to help them find and destroy cancer cells. Biological therapy cancer treatment is often used in conjunction with chemotherapy radiotherapy, cancer surgery and radiation therapy.
Hormone therapy is often the first step in treating prostate or breast cancers that are discovered in early stages of development. In women, estrogen may increase cancer tumor growth in breast cancer, while in males; testosterone may cause cancerous tumors in the stages of prostate cancer to grow faster. Various drugs that contain hormones used to block the effects of estrogen and testosterone may help not only to reduce the size of cancer tumors, but also to eradicate them altogether.
Surgery is often employed to remove cancerous tumors as well as affected tissues in the body. Surgeries procedures may be used to treat cancers in the colon, liver, lungs, brain and other body organs. However, depending on the stage of the cancer, surgery is also used in conjunction with one or more of the above-mentioned treatments in order to ensure the cancerous cells have been destroyed.
Benefits of Cancer Therapies
While various Cancer therapies may cause unpleasant side effects in many people, positive results are often enjoyed through the use of cancer surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy cancer treatments for patients. When caught early enough, cancer radiation treatments encourage eradication of cancer tumors and cancerous tissues and commonly result in a positive prognosis.
Obtaining Cancer Treatment
When looking for a doctor to help treat cancer, patients should look for cancer specialists. These cancer specialists are trained in the field of oncology. Patients should look for experience, training, and that the specialist of their choice has been board-certified in specific areas of medicine. The physician who is board-certified in medical oncology or surgery will ensure their qualifications in their field.
In most cases, primary care physicians will refer patients to a cancer specialist. Medical organizations such as the American Medical Association or the American College of Surgeons will be able to offer the names of cancer specialists, as well as through cancer treatment centers and organizations throughout the country of origin.