Types of Treatment for Cancer

Cancer is not new to our ears. We all know cancer if  not  treated or addressed can cause to a graver illness causing even death. In this modern age, researches have come out of more drugs and procedures that would help in the alleviation of cancer.

Types of treatment:

Surgery

The most common way of getting rid of cancer is through surgery. The knives and needles are the common companion when one undergoes this procedure. A disclaimer though: in theory, cancer can be cured entirely through removal of the tissue causing the illness. This is not so. When the cancer has already metastasized to the other sites of the body just before the operation, complete surgical excision is possible. Some of the examples of surgical procedure would include masectom and protatechomy.

The basic objective of the surgery is to either remove the tumor or the entire organ itself. Do not ever think that you are safe already once the surgery is through. Unfortunately, a single cancer cell is invisible to the naked eye but it can regrow with just that one. This is what we call recurrence. It is by this reason that every pathologist will examine the surgical specimen to determine the margin of damaged healthy tissue present in the body decreasing the chance that microscopic cancer cells are left in the patient.

In addition to removal of the primary tumor, surgery is often necessary for staging, e.g. determining the extent of the disease and whether it has metastasized to regional lymph nodes. Staging is a major determinant of prognosis and of the need for adamant therapy. Occasionally, surgery is necessary to control symptoms, such as spinal cord compression or bowel obstruction. This is referred to as palliative treatment.

Chemotherapy

Another way to treat cancer is through chemotherapy.. Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with the use of drugs that aims to destroy cancer cells. What it does is for  the treatment to interfere with cell division in various ways. This form of treatment target rapidly divide cells but not the specific cancer cells.

Hence, chemotherapy has the potential to harm healthy tissue, especially those tissues with a high replacement rate (e.g. intestinal lining). These cells usually repair themselves after chemotherapy. Some drugs work better together than alone, two or more drugs are often given at the same time. This is called "combination chemotherapy"; most chemotherapy regimens are given in a combination.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy on the other hand, makes use of ionizing radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. This type of therapy is administered externally via external beam radiotherapy or internally by brachytherapy. Only the area with cancer is being treated.

The strength of radiation therapy is by injuring and destroying the cells in the area that is being treated. It damages the genetic material thus making it impossible for these cells to continue and divide.

Though radiation impair both normal and caner cells, most normal cells can recover from the therapy. The goal of radiation therapy is to damage as many cancer cells as possible, while limiting harm to nearby healthy tissue. Hence, it is given in many fractions allowing healthy tissue to recover between fractions.

Radiation therapy may be used to treat almost every type of solid tumor, including cancers of the brain, breast, cervix, larynx, lung, pancreas, prostate, skin, stomach, uterus, or soft tissue sarcomas. Radiation is also used to treat leukemia and lymphoma.

Radiation dose to each site depends on a number of factors, including the radiation sensitivity of each cancer type and whether there are tissues and organs nearby that may be damaged by radiation. Thus, as with every form of treatment, radiation therapy is not harmful to other healthy cells.