Cancer is a class of animal disease, medically know as malignant neoplasm, wherein a cluster of cells show unrestrained growth i.e. division beyond the normal limit, intrusion and damage of tissues adjacent to them and spread (via blood or lymph) to other places. This malady is not restricted to just homosapiens but can even affect animals.
Reportedly, 7.6 million people died from cancer in the previous year.
In most of the cases, cancer is identified due to symptoms and its diagnosis is usually confirmed by a pathologist, who is a type of physician specializing in diagnosis of cancer. Suspected people are usually investigated with medical tests like blood test, X-rays, CT scan and endoscopy.
There are various methods for Cancer treatments such as surgery, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and various other methods. The type of method employed depends on the patient’s general health and the location and the stage of the tumour spread.
Complete surgical excision is possible in very few cases since the cancerous tissues usually metastasizes to other places in the patient’s body before the surgery. Masectomy is the surgical treatment used for treating breast cancer while for prostate cancer, prostatectomy is used. The aim of carrying out the surgery is to remove the tumour or if required the entire affected organ, which is however unfortunately limited to very few cases of small cancer.
Radiation therapy is also known as radiotherapy. It uses ionizing radiation for killing cancerous cells and shrinking the tumors. It damages the genetic material of the cells thereby preventing them from replicating further. The drawback of this methodology of remedial is that it often damages the normal cells in addition to the harmful ones. Though, in most cases the normal ones recover and re-function properly, it leads to permanent damage in some. It is used in treating brain cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer and also cancer of the skin, prostate, uterus, stomach, or pancreas. Even lymphoma and leukemia can be treated by radiation.
Cancer can also be treated by Chemotherapy which involves use of drugs which destroy rapidly dividing cells. It interferes in various ways with division of cells and has the potential of harming healthy tissues. However after Chemotherapy these healthy cells repair themselves. High dose Chemotherapy is used for treatment of certain lymphomas and leukaemias.
Targeted Therapy is another medium for cure which employs certain agents which are specific for the cancer cells’ deregulated protein. It also involves small peptides which bind to the surface cell receptors surrounding the tumour.
Some cancer growth can be checked by either injecting or obstructing certain hormones. Some hormone sensitive cancers are breast and prostate cancer. Removing estrogen or testosterone is also often used as an additional treatment.
Controlling cancer symptoms is not a stereotypical form of treatment aimed at cancer, but it also determines the standard of life of the victims of cancer, and plays a pivotal role in deciding whether the person would be able to undertake other treatments.