Developing the right treatment plan for cancer patients typically requires a team of medical professionals. This may include general physicians, surgeons, radiation therapists, social workers, nurses, and more. The only way to answer the question of how to treat cancer is to first examine several factors like age, the lifecycle of the disease, size of cancerous growth and general health of the patient. All of these must all be considered before a treatment plan can be formed.
The vast majority of cancers may be identified through either symptoms or screening. Typically, a pathologist will perform a variety of tests to confirm the existence of cancer cells. Blood tests, CT scans and x-rays are examples of some of the tests that may be performed to help diagnose cancer.
The following is a list of the various classifications of cancer:
* Germ cell tumor
A sarcoma is a type of cancer that originates in the connective tissue, such as bone or cartilage. Carcinoma is a broad term for the cancer that invades epithelial cells like those found in the prostate or lungs. Both lymphoma and leukemia are found in blood cells, while germ cell tumors originate in pluripotent cells like the testicles or ovaries. Finally, blastomas are found in embryonic and immature cells.
There are four major types of cancer treatments that are commonly used today. These include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and palliative care. The type of treatment that is administered will be determined by a number of factors.
How to Treat Cancer
Surgery may be used to identify or remove cancerous growth within healthy tissue. This is the most common method of treating and even eliminating cancer. Initially, a biopsy may be performed to extract a segment of the growth for further testing. After the growth has been positively identified as cancer, then it may be surgically removed. Some locations respond better to surgery than others. Finally, it is important to note that surgery may be combined with chemotherapy or radiation therapy to eliminate additional cancer cells and prevent relapse from occurring.
How to Treat Cancer with Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy utilizes radioactive beams or implants to either cure the cancer or control its growth. This type of therapy may be either internally or externally administered. External radiation therapy typically does not require any surgical incision and can be very precisely targeted on tumors. Internal therapy requires implantation of small radioactive devices at or near the site of the growth and emits a calibrated dosage of radiation. Radiation therapy is used in about 50% of all cancer treatments.
How to Treat Cancer with Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy involves heavily concentrated dosages of medication to destroy the DNA of cancer cells. This type of therapy is associated with significant side effects as healthy cells may be disrupted as well. Common side effects of chemotherapy include hair loss, weakened immune system and lowered red and white blood cell counts. Chemotherapy is often used with surgery in order to treat breast cancer, testicular cancer, pancreatic cancer and other types of this disease.
How to Treat Cancer with Palliative Care
Palliative care is a broad term used to describe any non-curative procedures and treatment options that are mainly designed to prolong the patient’s life and improve their condition. Pain relief medications, development of coping mechanisms and supplements designed to reduce nausea and vomiting are all considered forms of palliative care.
How to Treat Cancer with Alternative Treatments
There are a tremendous amount of alternative treatments of cancer that have not been approved by government agencies. Various herbal supplement regimens, diet changes and other experimental treatments are available but largely unregulated. Some are simply used to manage the side effects of traditional treatments. For example, medical marijuana is a controversial alternative treatment that some people use to ease the nausea associated with chemotherapy.
Cancer can be a fatal disease, especially if the proper care is not administered early on. It is been said that around 50% of people who receive treatment for invasive cancers survive, although this number varies significantly depending on the type of cancer involved. Even so, prevention IS possible with many types of this disease. For example, smoking cessation has been shown to reduce the risk of developing cancer significantly.
When it comes to answering the question of how to treat cancer, there is no easy solution. The options must be considered carefully and discussed thoroughly with physicians. It’s extremely beneficial to have family members, friends and medical professionals to help you manage the disease and cope with the impact it has on your life. The 21st century has experienced several breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer and this one reason why patients have more reason to hope than ever before.