The aim of Cancer treatment is to cure or increase the survival rate of the patient. Though some cancers are not curable, opting for the right course of treatment improves the quality of life and helps in relief from miserable pains. It wrong notion among most of the individuals that all cancers are fatal and not curable. The early diagnosis and initiation of treatment is the main key for most of the cancers to limit their spread. Few cancers like seminoma, Acute lymphatic leukemia in children if diagnosed early and treated promptly have high chances of getting cured. Diagnosis of cancer is mostly based on pathological examination if it is a solid tumor or relevant blood tests if it is Blood cancer. After the diagnosis is made, staging of cancer is to be defined with specific investigations which show the spread of cancer to various organs. Depending on the stage and grade of cancer the suitable treatment course can be planned.
There are various modalities of treatment among which major option chosen is between
4. Combined therapy.
Surgery is planned for non hematological cancers for cure or for palliative purpose. When cancers are restricted to organ of initiation and not metastasized yet, surgeys plays a major role in cure of cancers as the cancerous part can be excised with healthy margins left around. But this is limited to few tumors, as most of the small tumors have metastatic potential. In such cases combined modality of treatment is preferred which might include chemotherapy or radiotherapy along with surgery. Mastectomy for breast cancer, and Prostatectomy for prostate cancer are clear cut examples of excision surgeries for malignant tumors.
Palliation: Surgery plays a role in palliative therapy apart from curative therapy. Palliative care is comforting the patient whose stage of cancer has progressed and complete cure is not possible. In such cases to comfort the patient large local growths or metastasized growths are excised.
Chemotherapy is treatment of cancer with anti cancer drugs. Some cancers are cured with chemotherapy alone like hematological cancers whereas some require combination therapy with radiation or surgery. Most of the drugs target rapidly dividing cells, with no specific action on cancerous cells. This action on normal rapidly dividing cells like intestinal cells is responsible for side effects of anticancer drugs. Combination chemotherapy of two different classes of anticancer drugs is preferred in certain cancers which is proved to be effective.
Radiotherapy is the treatment of cancer growths where ionising radiation of varying intensity is used to kill the cancer cells. It damages genetic material of the cell. So, further multiplication of cells is not possible and most of the cancer growths do not recur. Radiotherapy is effective to almost all solid tumors and is used for specific lymphomas and leukemias. The effect of radiotherapy depends on individual tumors whether they are radiosensitive or radioresistant and also depends on stage of cancer. Radiotherapy is given in divided doses to avoid irreversible damage to normal cells. Though the treatment is targeted to specific area of tumor growth, the normal cells surrounding the tumor are also susceptible to damage, so the gaps in between the radiotherapy treatments help the normal cells to recover and regain their function.
There are various other modalities like using of specific immune agents, angiogenesis inhibitors and targeted therapy with monoclonal antibodies used for the treatment of cancers.