Medical Cancer Treatments
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, and it usually does not have any specific symptoms. Some tumors can be felt from outside the body. Doctors can search for cancer when a person has their annual health screening. Medical professionals want to detect malignant cells in the early stages of cancer. Although cancer usually affects older adults, young children can also be diagnosed with cancer. Cancer appears when there is an overgrowth of cells in any organ or tissue. Many cancers are caused by environmental factors and a genetic predisposition to cell overgrowth.
Chemotherapy can be given orally or intravenously. Malignant cells multiply rapidly, and chemotherapy can destroy unhealthy and healthy cells. After a chemotherapy treatment, some cancer patients have a loss of appetite. Nausea, vomiting, hair loss, diarrhea and fatigue are common side effects. When the malignant cells are destroyed, healthy cells grow in the affected area. The side effects usually cease after the patient stops receiving chemotherapy treatments.
Radiation therapy can be used to shrink tumors and destroy cancer cells. Radiation therapy can damage healthy cells, but the human body can regenerate the healthy cells that were damaged. The procedure can be used to shrink or destroy tumors. The treatment can be used without any other cancer medications, or it can be used in combination with surgery or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy can be given externally or internally. After undergoing radiation therapy, some cancer patients have swollen and irritated skin. The skin can also be dry and flaky, and it will usually heal within a few weeks. However, some people have darker skin in the treated areas for several months after undergoing radiation therapy.
Many forms of cancer change slowly in the early stages, but the tumors can spread to other areas of the body. When the cancer is in the advanced stages, it can spread quickly to the bloodstream and other organs. Doctors can surgically remove cancerous tumors. In some situations, the medical team may want to use a combination of surgery and other cancer treatments.
Immunotherapy and Hormone Therapy
Immunotherapy uses a patient’s immune system as a weapon against cancer. The treatment is designed to boost a person’s natural immune system defenses. Hormone therapy blocks or removes the hormones that cause cancer.
Stem Cell Transplant
Stem cell transplants use a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. The stem cells can be collected from bone marrow or from a patient’s blood. When the procedure is complete, the patient will have new stem cells.
Precision medicine uses an individualized approach. Medical professionals examine and study a patient’s genomic information. Doctors strive to identify changes at the cellular level, and they look for patterns in individual cancers. Precision medicine is usually used when cancer does not respond to standard cancer treatments.
The cancer treatment will depend on the type of cancer. A team of healthcare professionals can create the best treatment plan. Doctors will take into account the patient’s preferences and overall health.