What Is Cancer Treatment?
Branch of medicine dealing with the cure and suppression of any type of cancer, be it benign or malignant is known as cancer treatment. Benign tumors multiply at a slower rate & are localized in nature whereas malignant ones divide rapidly & posses a tendency to metastasizei.e encroach adjacent/distant tissues. Depending upon the onset, location & severity of tumor, various treatment approaches can be made.
Causes of Cancer:
- Viral infections: Human Papilloma Virus is the main viral agent leading to cancer of the skin and mucus membranes.
- Smoking/ganja/tobacco/alcohol lead to various types of cancers of the mouth, throat and lungs. Alcohol in addition may also cause liver tumors.
- Immunosuppression: tumors also tend to develop in bodies where the immunity is poor, leading to a great potential for the cells to multiply.
- Environmental changes such as exposure to UV radiations, sun rays may lead to skin cancers
- A tumor may also result due to genetic mutations.
Signs & Symptoms of Cancer:
- May go unnoticed due to its painless nature in many cases
- General discomfort, lethargy, sickness
- Increased or reduced number of white blood cells, mostly immature in nature
- Easy bruising, bleeding
- White chalky patches on skin
- Reduced immunity, may catch cough cold easily
- Lump in the breast region
- Increase in the number, size and color of warts
Diagnosis of Cancer:
- Samples of blood, urine, joint cavity fluids, cerebro-spinal fluids are examined for the presence of any abnormal or atypical cells. If present, further investigations are prescribed.
- X-rays, computed tomography CT, magnetic resonance imaging MRI, endoscopy and ultrasound USG are also done to determine the location, number, type and extent of the tumor mass or masses.
- In a biopsy, a part of the cancer is excised and sent to laboratory to study its type and degree, whether it is a benign or a metastatic one. The course of treatment can also be determined as per the biopsy report.
- In a fine needle aspiration cytology, a long tubular needle is inserted into the cancer mass and the contents are aspirated. These are then sent to the labs for the identification of type and stage of cancer.
Types of Cancer:
Cancer can develop in any part of the body, at any time. The only drawback it holds is a painless growth because of which the preliminary stages may go undetected. Cancer can be of the following types:
- Tumors of any degree and severity can occur with the neural cells (brain) at any age. This may include tumors of the brain per se or anywhere along the spinal cord involving the vast and tortuous course of the spinal nerves.
- Melanoma and retinoblastoma are cancers of the melanin containing cells and retinal cells of the eyes respectively. These lead to loss of vision and are mostly genetic in origin. Exposure to UV radiation and carcinogenic agents can cause chronic agents leading to such cancerous conditions.
- Squamous cell carcinoma, verrucous cancer, papilloma can affect the oral cavity as well as the throat as a result of consumption of charas/ganja/tobacco/ghutka/smoking.
- Follicular and papillary type of thyroid and parathyroid cancers are common in middle aged females. Also, a cancerous growth may affect the neck spaces if the thyroid ones become aggressive and metastatic.
- Lung cancers such as thymoma, thymic carcinoma and malignant mesothelioma develop due to deposition of nicotine in the lung alveoli, due to chronic smoking.
- A lump indicative of a benign fibroid mass or an aggressive metastatic one may involve either of or both the breasts. One of the most important features for a breast cancer is the self assessment and self examination which can later be confirmed with a surgeon.
- Adenocarcinoma can be a cancer of both the stomach and the pancreas leading to irritation, soreness and bleeding if affecting the stomach and severe abdominal/back pain, loss of apetite, diabetes if affecting the pancreas.
- Cholangiocarcinoma is the tumor of the bile duct which generally manifests into a chronic jaundice condition.
- Colon cancers, which are abnormal cellular growth of the large intestine, develop as a result of constant mucosal irritation, high stress levels.
- Cervix, ovaries, uterus in females are cancer struck as a result of hormonal imbalance, altered stress levels. Cervical cancer is quite common in these in middle aged women. However preventive HPV vaccinations for the same are also available. Ovarian cancer on the other hand may involve either of the two ovaries and almost always goes for a radiation therapy as the line of treatment. A tumor in the uterus also can develop with no particular age barrier.
- Similarly cancer of the prostrate, penis and testes can also occur in males. Prostate cancer is highly common in males above 50 years of age. This mostly requires a surgical correction and seldom is cured by radiation or chemotherapy.
- A renal cell carcinoma can involve urinary bladder, either of the kidneys, urethra and/or ureters.
- Melanomas, multiple myeloma, basal cell carcinoma, and non melanomas are the cancer conditions for the skin.
- Leukemia is the excessive production of immature white blood cells, myeloid leukemia is the increased production of myeloblasts, platelets and red blood cells
Stages of Cancer:
There are five stages of cancer and thus the cancer treatment is also planned accordingly.
- Stage 0: The cells only multiply abnormally, are localized in nature and cannot be even called as cancer
- Stage 1: Cancer potential has developed but is still localized in nature
- Stage 2 and 3: Cancer has grown and invaded the lymph nodes
- Stage 5: Cancer has spread to other parts of the body
Treatment Procedures for Cancer:
- Cancer drugs: No single anti cancer drug can cure the cancerous condition totally. Drugs prescribed have more side effects than actually curing the growth of the cancer. To a certain extent, the rate at which the cancer multiplies can only be retarded, no cancer can be cured completely.
- Immunotherapy: These therapy works an adjunct to the various other treatment options available for the treatment of cancer. The line of defense against any infection/foreign body in the human system is formed by the leucocytes, platelets and macrophages. In cases of cancer, these cells become weak, depleted, exhausted or are produced in an immature form. Injection of these cells in the form of CAR T cells brings about a boost in the immune system and restores the body’s ability to fight against cancer.
- Radiation therapy RT: It is the most commonly used treatment approach for many types of cancer irrespective of the stage at which the cancer is. In a curative type of RT, ionizing radiations are targeted over the cancer cells which bring about their disintegration. Adjunctive type of RT can be used along with chemotherapy sessions. The palliative type of RT aims at providing symptomatic relief from the tumor symptoms and does not cure the disease.
- Chemotherapy: It is the method used for the treatment of cancer in which drugs are administered timely in various combinations instead of using radiations. These drugs are cytotoxic in nature, lethal to the tumor masses and ultimately bring about the death of cancer cells. RT and chemotherapy can be used alternatively in order to cause the complete eradication of the tumor.
- Surgery: many types of cancers call for an excision or total resection after they have spread to the adjacent areas and can no longer be treated with the RT and chemotherapy. Mastectomy is the complete removal of the breast or the breasts followed by mammary reconstruction. Removal of lymph nodes is also done in cases of lymphoma. Resection of a part of throat and the esophagus is done in cases of throat cancers. The best method also for the treatment of a prostate cancer is its comsplete surgical removal.
Fibroids in the breast which may develop into metastatic cancer or an intestinal polyp which can grow into a papilloma call for an early preventive type of surgical removal on being detected at the correct stge. A palliative type of surgery which remove small tumor masses only to provide symptomatic relief, with no effect in the long term. Cryosurgery is the recent trend in the field of oncology, a bloodless procedure which makes use of extremely cold temperatures to kill the cancer cells.
Complications And Risk Factors Associated With Cancer Treatment:
- RT and chemotherapy both are painless procedures, however they bring about death of the healthy host cells along with the tumor cells. The doses cannot differentiate between the cells in the human body and thus can cause collapse of all types of cells.
- Thyroid dysfunctions can also occur secondary to RT
- Hair loss, skin irritations are quite common with cancer treatments
- General discomfort, nausea, vomiting
- Infertility, impotence
- Throat soreness, erosions, bleeding
- Uneasiness, diarrhea, bruising
Am I Good Candidate For Cancer Treatment?
- A stage 0 patient only requires close monitoring and observation in the form of physical examinations, lab and imaging tests at timely intervals.
- For a stage 1, 2 and 3 patient, various combinations of cancer drugs followed by radiation and chemotherapy may be the choice of treatment plan.
- For a stage 5 case, surgical removal is the only choice left.
Benefits of Cancer Treatment:
- Radiation and chemotherapy cause death of the tumor cells in almost 75 percent of cancer cases with a little chance of cancer recurrence and damage to healthy host tissues.
- A complete removal of the cancer mass by surgical approach ensures a total recovery from the disease.
Why Choose India?
Indian cancer institute’s offer the best treatment protocols for all types of cancers. Here, highly qualifies cancer specialists and professionals work together in harmony in order to completely eradicate the cancer by various modalities available and best suited for the individual.