There are very few things more terrifying than receiving a cancer diagnosis. Cancer research and treatments have come a long way and you’re chances of survival are better than they have ever been. Today you have options that you didn’t have even 20 years ago. Before your mind goes to the worst case scenario, talk to your doctor about your treatment options. Much of it will depend on the type of cancer you have and the stage that you are at. Here are some common cancer treatment options.
Surgery is the oldest and still one of the more common treatments for cancer particularly cancerous tumors. If your tumor is operable then the cancerous mass and sometime the affected tissue surrounding the tumor is taken out by an oncological surgeon. Surgical intervention for cancer can come in two forms, minimally invasive or open surgery. Minimally invasive surgery is done through a small cut in the body and a laparoscope to locate and remove the cancer. Open surgery is a larger incision that removes the cancer and often the lymph nodes closer to the cancer are removed as well to prevent spreading.
One of the characteristics of cancer cells is the rate in which they grow and multiply, chemotherapy is used to stop that process or at the very least to slow it down. Chemotherapy is used to both cure cancer and to treat the symptoms. Tumors can cause pain and a number of other issues depending on where they are located. Chemotherapy can be used to shrink a tumor enough that it can be removed surgically. It can also be used to kill the cancer cells that couldn’t be removed when a tumor is taken out.
Chemotherapy has plenty of side effects many of which are unpleasant. While it does destroy the cancer cells it can also wreak havoc on the healthy cells it can make the patient very sick along with hair loss. Chemotherapy is hard on the patient and they may spend a lot of time recuperating both from the disease and the treatment.
Radiotherapy works similar to chemotherapy in that it is designed to shrink tumors and stop cancer cells from growing. Unlike chemotherapy it uses high doses of particles damaging to the cancer cells. Once the cancer cells die then the body will eliminate them on your own. A machine is used to aim radiation particles at the affected area, or radiation can be administered through a pill or liquid form, it will all depend on the type of cancer you have.
While these are the most common treatments for cancer, there are still others that are available to cancer patients. Research is constantly being done and treatments like immunotherapy, where doctors use the body’s own immune system to help fight cancer are showing great promise. Hopefully one day we will find a cure and this disease will finally be conquered.