Cancer Treatments

Cancer Treatments
14 Feb 2018

Table of Contents

    Cancer treatment is a medical intervention to control or stop the growth and spread of cancer cells. Cancer treatment can vary depending on the type and stage of cancer. Cancer treatments include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy, hormonal therapies.

    Surgical treatment

    Surgical intervention in cancer treatment is a procedure to remove cancerous tissue. Surgical treatment may vary depending on the type, extent and stage of the cancer. Sometimes it is used alone, sometimes it is used in combination with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. It is a form of treatment frequently used in the early stages of cancer.

    The aim of surgical treatment is to remove the cancer completely. The removal of cancerous tissue depends on the size, location and extent of spread of the tumor. Surgery may involve the cancerous tissue and sometimes the surrounding healthy tissue. Removing the cancer completely can reduce the risk of cancer recurrence and improve treatment success.

    Surgery can be performed using open or laparoscopic methods. Open surgery is preferred when an incision needs to be made and examined to remove the cancerous tissue. Laparoscopic surgery, on the other hand, is a method that allows the removal of cancerous tissue through several small incisions. This method provides less pain and a shorter recovery time.

    Chemotherapy

    It is a treatment that neutralizes cancer cells, stops their growth and is applied with various drugs to control the disease. Depending on the type and stage of cancer, it can be applied with different treatment methods or alone.

    The aims of this treatment are as follows:

    To treat the patient by stopping the progression of the disease

    Reducing the patient's complaints and enabling him/her to continue his/her life in a more comfortable way

    Prevent recurrence of the disease

    Chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Therefore, patients may experience various side effects during treatment. For example, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite, increased risk of infection and bleeding.

    Radiotherapy

    It aims to destroy cancer cells with high-energy rays while protecting surrounding organs. Radiotherapy is used to shrink the tumor before surgical treatment or to destroy cancerous cells remaining after the intervention. In some types of cancer, radiotherapy is the only treatment method.

    Radiotherapy can be applied in different ways depending on the location, size and degree of spread of the cancer. The treatment is also known as external radiotherapy or internal radiotherapy. In external radiotherapy, cancer cells are targeted with radiation using an external device. In internal radiotherapy, a radioactive substance is placed into the cancer cells.

    Radiotherapy treatment can last from a few weeks to several months, usually in weekly sessions. The side effects of radiotherapy can vary depending on the type and dose of treatment. Side effects include redness of the skin, burning sensation, tiredness, nausea and vomiting, bowel problems.

    Immunotherapy

    Treatment with drugs that enable the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells. This method activates the immune system and aims to help the body defeat cancer cells. Its use is increasing day by day.

    Immunotherapy treatment can be applied in different ways depending on the type and stage of cancer. Some immunotherapy drugs can attack cancer cells directly to kill them, while others stimulate the immune system to attack cancer cells. Immunotherapy can be used in combination with chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

    Immunotherapy treatment can bring some side effects. These side effects can vary depending on the type and dose of treatment. Some side effects can include fatigue, fever, chills, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea and skin rashes. Side effects are usually less severe than with other cancer treatments. It can be highly effective in treating some types of cancer, but every patient's situation is different and not all respond to every treatment. The effectiveness of treatment depends on the type and stage of cancer and the patient's general health.

    Hormonal therapies

    Hormonal therapy in cancer treatment works by blocking hormones that cause some cancer cells to grow. This treatment is usually used for hormone-sensitive types of cancer. Hormone-sensitive cancers include breast cancer and prostate cancer. Hormonal therapy stops or slows the growth of cancer cells by blocking the action of hormones.

    The side effects of hormonal therapy can vary depending on the type and dose of treatment. Usually, hormonal therapy causes changes in hormone levels in the body, which can lead to some side effects. For example, when drugs that lower estrogen and progesterone levels are used to treat breast cancer, side effects can include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, depression and decreased bone density.

    Targeted therapy

    Unlike chemotherapy, this treatment uses drugs that destroy only the cancer cells without affecting healthy cells.

    Cancer cells, unlike normal cells, may have specific targeting molecules. These molecules control the growth and division of cancer cells and cancer cells are dependent on these molecules.

    Targeted therapy involves drugs that bind to or block these target molecules of cancer cells. These drugs work to neutralize cancer cells or stop their growth, while causing less damage to normal cells. Targeted therapy is different from other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and can be used for many different types of cancer.

    Cancer treatment differs depending on the type and stage of cancer and is customized taking into account many factors. Cancer treatment often involves collaboration between many health professionals. Advances in cancer treatment have led to better treatment outcomes and improved quality of life for people fighting cancer.

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