How is cancer treated?

oncology cancer medical treatment

There are multiple types of cancer treatment, and it is important to get familiar with all of them in order to make an informed decision about which one to implement in a particular case.

Cancer surgery

Surgery is the most basic, mechanical type of cancer treatment. It is a procedure in which the cancer (in the form of a tumour) is surgically removed. Surgery works best for solid tumours located in one place.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is another very popular form of cancer treatment. It uses drugs given to a patient through an IV drip, to kill the cancer. The drugs, however, are very strong and often cause side effects such as hair loss and a decrease in immunity.

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is the use of high doses of radiation in order to kill or slow down cancer. This type of cancer treatment also comes with its own side effects, like damage to healthy cells. There is also a limit to the amount of radiation a person can receive in their lifetime, meaning that they might need to switch over to a different type of therapy once they have reached this point.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy on the other hand is a type of biological cancer treatment, which stimulates the immune system and helps it fight cancer. Some types of immunotherapy include:

  • checkpoint inhibitors
  • adoptive cell transfer
  • monoclonal antibodies
  • treatment vaccines
  • cytokines
  • BCG

Personalized cancer therapy

Personalized cancer medicine, which is based on targeted therapy, helps pick specific treatment based on the genetic understanding of one’s disease. Each person’s cancer is different and will react differently to certain types of treatment. In personalized medicine, doctors use that knowledge to their advantage and tailor a treatment specifically for the cancer they are dealing with.

Hormone cancer therapy

Hormone therapy can be used in breast and prostate cancer, which both use hormones to grow. This therapy uses hormones to try and stop or slow down that growth.

Stem cell transplant

The final type of treatment is stem cell transplant. This is a process of restoring blood-forming stem cells to the body of a patient whose own stem cells were destroyed by extensive chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Author: Julia Kubiak

Source: www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types

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