Cancer is no longer just a zodiac sign! It has become the name of a dangerous and life threatening disease which could happen to anyone. It is slowly but steadily also becoming the cause of death among many Indians each passing year. With 1300 people dying of cancer each day it is leading cause of death across the globe. Despite this, there are people who have beaten cancer and survived.
There are more than 100 different types of cancers. Cancer when detected in an earlier stage can be managed much better. So it is extremely important not to ignore the signs that prove there is cancer growing within you. Cancer is characterized into 4 stages as per the growth of the cancer cells. Stage 3 and 4 are usually dangerous stages to be in. Proper treatment, a strong support group to help you keep calm and maintaining a very carefully curated diet is extremely necessary for winning the bitter war with cancer. Interacting with patients who have been through cancer through online forums and communities also helps you to know that you aren’t alone. Following listed are the different types of cancer treatments available to help patients sail over the difficult phase of life:
- Radiation Therapy
- Targeted Therapy
- Hormone Therapy
Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment meant to fight the cancerous cells with the help of your immune system. This therapy uses laboratory processed elements or elements manufactured by the body itself to strengthen the immune system. Immunotherapy slows the cancerous cells, restricts them from spreading to the remaining body and bettering the immune system in destroying cancerous cells. This treatment option also keeps the cancerous cells from metastasizing to the entire body. Oncolytic virus therapy, T-cell therapy, monoclonal antibodies and cancer vaccines are few types of immunotherapies.
- Radiation Therapy:
Radiation Therapy involves directing high-energy waves towards cancerous cells for destroying them. The size of tumors can be ascertained by radiological tests. Tumor markers also are useful in knowing if the tumors are shrinking or growing. External radiation therapy and Internal Radiation Therapy are the 2 types of this treatment. External therapy is administered via a linear accelerator twice a day or 5 times a week, depending upon the intensity of treatment. Whereas, internal radiation therapy entails rendering intense radiation to a small area in the body through placing a radioactive source of energy inside the body. The implants can either be temporary or permanent. Isolating the patient so as not to infect others is essential.
- Targeted Therapy:
The drugs used in targeted therapy treatment target cells that help cancerous cells to grow and thrive. Monoclonal antibodies and small molecule drugs are the 2 type of targeted therapy. Signal transduction inhibitors, gene expression modulators, apoptosis inducers, angiogenesis inhibitors, immunotherapies, and toxin delivery molecules are few other types of targeted therapy. Monoclonal antibodies are given intravenously. The toxin used to kill the cancerous cells work in such way that they do not harm the healthy cells. Whereas, small molecule drugs are basically pills for inhibiting growth of cancer cells. A single cycle of targeted therapy is followed by a month-long cycle of rest for healthy cells to develop.
- Hormone Therapy
The doctor decides on giving hormone therapy based on a hormone receptor test. The test lets the doctor know the number of hormones present in cancerous tissues. If the test is negative, it is proved that the hormones do not affect the cancer cells. Whereas, if the test comes positive it is proved that the hormone is responsible for growth of cancerous cells. The type of hormone therapy to be delivered of course depends on the type, size and location of tumor, age of person and so on.
It is a treatment option for treating cancer by killing cancerous cells using drugs.
Chemotherapy is meant to curb the spread of cancerous cells in the remaining body and to eradicate existing cells which are affected by cancer. Chemotherapy is given to patients in cycles. A single cycle can last for a single or multiple days. It is followed by a few weeks of rest as considered by your doctor. The course of treatments of chemotherapy lasts for a period of 3-6 months. Each leg of the cycle can last anywhere between a few hours and few days. To know prices of chemotherapy in various Indian cities here.
Going in for annual checkups and screenings is a simple way to prevent onset of any cancer. Also, it is always better to go in for regular checkups if the disease runs in your family. After all, it is better to take precautions in the present than to foot huge bills in future on medical expenses.
About the author
Pousali Dey is an M.Phil in English literature & likes to explore genres related to arts and aesthetics. She is an ardent believer of the ‘learning, unlearning & relearning’ process. She truly enjoys writing on different concepts.