Anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer needs to get treated at the earliest to ensure a proper cure. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery are the common cancer treatments suggested to cure cancer. The treatment options also depend on the overall health of the patient and their specific cancer. The common cancer treatments that are recommended are chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. The following includes everything you want to know about the common cancer treatments:
One of the most common cancer treatments is chemotherapy. This is usually considered to be the first treatment for cancer. Chemotherapy involves the use of chemicals or medicines to treat cancer. These medicines or chemicals help in destroying the cancer cells.
Chemotherapy can be administered by injections into the vein. It can even be administered as an oral medicine or a cream. This depends on the type and stage of cancer. Since chemotherapy uses very strong drugs, it can be an effective way of treatment. The strength of the medicines ensures that there can be severe side effects. These include:
- Hair loss
- Bleeding and bruising
- Susceptibility to infections
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Mouth sores
- Kidney problems and urinary problems
- Mood changes leading to irritation and depression
- Infertility and sexual problems
If the side effects are severe, then you need to see a doctor immediately for effective treatment.
Radiation therapy uses radiation like X-rays or high-energy waves to destroy cancer cells. Radiation can damage or destroy cancer cells by damaging the DNA of the cells when radiation is focused on the cancerous tissues. Radiation therapy can be administered independently or along with chemotherapy or surgery.
Radiation therapy targets a particular area of the body and side effects mostly appear on the area targeted. Unlike chemotherapy, side effects may be apparent only after some time and are experienced for a long time. General side effects include skin burn and fatigue.
Radiation may be given by directing beams at the cancerous area. A radioactive source may be inserted into the body so that the tumor receives the radiation. In some cases, radioactive drugs may be injected or given orally. Women are advised not to get pregnant while undergoing radiation therapy.
During surgery, the cancerous tissues and tumors are removed. A surgery can ensure the removal of cancer cells but cancer may have spread to adjoining cells. In such a case, chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be needed to ensure all the cancerous cells are destroyed.
Sometimes the cancer cells grow back and then other therapies or multiple surgeries may be needed. The surgery is done by making an incision in the skin and removing the cancerous cells. Laser surgery can also be used where laser beams destroy the cancerous cells.
Electrosurgery is another option, where electric current is used to kill the cancerous cells. A new type of surgery is cryosurgery where the cancer cells are frozen and destroyed.
Sometimes, during surgery, a part of an organ, or an entire organ would be removed if cancer has spread.