How is Cancer Treated?
Cancer is treated in different ways. As yet, there is no single treatment for curing cancer. A combination of therapies and palliative care is given to the cancer patients. Often two or more types of treatment are combined for this purpose.
Treatments are categorized as follows:
• Conventional treatments
• Complementary therapies
• Alternative therapies
Which treatment option should be chosen – it depends upon the following factors:
• Type of cancer
• Stage of the cancer – how much it has spread
• Health status
• Personal preferences
In considering your treatment options, don’t be afraid to ask questions to your doctor(s) as you are a key part of your cancer care team. Talk to them about it and make sure you understand your options, then decide which treatment choices are best for you. If possible, seeking a second opinion is often a good idea. Often being diagnosed with cancer makes people think that they have to take decisions hurriedly about the treatments and services. But take time to look at all the available options. It will give you more information about the treatment options and you will be more confident about the one you chose.
Conventional treatments – also known as medical, proven, orthodox, standard or mainstream treatments – are widely accepted and are being practiced by several oncologists and medical specialists. These treatments have been clinically tested, first in laboratories and then on large groups of people. They aim to cure the disease by removing the cancer cells from the body. Their effectiveness is based on scientific evidences proving that these treatments are safe, and either cure the cancer or slows down its growth or control the symptoms. Sometimes a treatment might not be able to cure cancer, but still it will help in relieving the symptoms and slowing down the spread of cancer or might completely stop it from spreading.
The main types of conventional treatments are:
• Hormone therapy
• Gene therapy
One of the oldest known treatments for Prostate Protocol cancer is surgery. If a cancer has not yet spread to other parts of the body (i.e., metastasized), then it is quite possible to surgically removing the cancer from the body and completely curing a patient. But if the disease has spread out then it is nearly impossible to remove all of the cancer cells.
Destruction of cancer by focusing high-energy rays on the cancer cells is known as radiation treatment or radiotherapy. This causes damage to the molecules that make up the cancer cells and leads them to commit suicide. This process utilizes high-energy gamma-rays that are emitted from metals such as radium or high-energy x-rays that are created in a special machine. Radiotherapy is used as a standalone treatment to shrink a tumor or destroy cancer cells. It is also used in combination with other cancer treatments.
Earlier, the energy beams utilized in radiation treatments to destroy the cancerous cell also tended to damage the normal, healthy tissues thus causing severe side-effects. But nowadays, due to improved technologies, the beams are more accurately targeted.
In the Chemotherapy, different chemicals are utilized that interfere with the cell division process – damaging proteins or DNA – so that the cancer cells commit suicide. These treatments do not target only the cancer cells but any rapidly dividing cells. But as normal cells have the ability to recover from any chemically-induced damages so they recover while cancer cells do not have this ability so they cannot recover.
Generally, chemotherapy is used to treat those cancers that have spread out to other parts of the body (metastasized). This treatment is given in cycles so as to give time to the body for healing between doses.