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Advancements in Cancer Treatment

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Advancements in Cancer Treatment

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With advances in science, cancer treatment is not just the domain of surgery, but radiation therapy and chemotherapy equally contribute to its cure.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At April 23, 2019
Reviewed AtAugust 2, 2023


With advances in science, cancer treatment is not just the domain of surgery, but radiation therapy and chemotherapy equally contribute to its cure. The term cancer imbibes scare and imminent death in the minds of the patient and caregivers. Unfortunately, this reaction is justified because of the associated uncertainties and unpredictable nature of this disease. History has taught us that cancer is not new and it has been there since ages. It is the awareness that has increased.

Many definitions are available online for the term cancer, the way I understand this disease is "a traitor of our body, resulting from our own actions." These actions mainly are environmental (smoking, tobacco, etc.), food (junk foods, spices, etc.), and family history (genetic). Most of these actions we can keep a check on. Unfortunately, some are beyond our control.

We can contribute to this fight against these traitors by identifying high-risk groups and getting them screened for early detection and treatment. With advances in science, the state of the art technologies are being implemented in the treatment of cancer. The basic objective of treatment remains the same, which is to remove cancer and it should never come back.

In this era, surgery takes care of removal with minimal side effect and complications. But depending upon the type of cancer and its behavior pattern, surgery may not be enough, and that is where radiotherapy and chemotherapy come in. There are many studies available which have proved time and again that radiation therapy and chemotherapy have improved survival and reduced recurrence.

What Is Radiation Therapy?

It is a local treatment which kills preferentially cancerous cells in the region to which radiation is delivered. Over the past decade with latest highly advanced machines, we can deliver radiation with such precise technique that maximum dose is given to cancer and minimum to the nearby normal organs, which minimizes side effects without compromising cancer treatment. Radiation has also been proved effective in reducing pain and preventing fractures, especially, in those patients affected with advanced stage cancer, which has spread to the bones and helps in providing such patients a pain-free comfortable life.

To conclude, cancer treatment requires a comprehensive approach with significant contributions from surgical oncology, medical oncology, and radiation oncology.

Frequently Asked Questions


Which Is the Latest Treatment Modality of Cancer Therapy?

Since the recognition of cancer, there have been several advancements in cancer therapy which has been the backbone of survivability. The newest technologies are still in their infancy, with chemotherapy and radiation the crown for the most widely used treatment modalities. The newest therapies include CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats), artificial intelligence, CAR-T-cell therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, Infinium assay, cryo-electron microscopy, and robotic surgery.


Which Cancer Is on the Verge of Cure?

While some of the cancers carry the highest mortality, some of them are curable and report a good prognosis. Some of these cancers are prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, testicular cancer, breast cancer, and melanoma. Although carrying a good outcome after treatment, these cancers require an early diagnosis to gain that level of prognosis.


What Are the Future Trends of Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy has been the most widely used treatment modality. But the therapy comes with serious side effects which need to be addressed by researchers. Clinicians aim to achieve real-time blood monitoring to assess the changing concentration of the drugs. This would help evaluate the potency of the drug, formulate tailored concentrations, and also adjust levels so as to minimize side effects.


What Is the Role of AI in Cancer Care?

AI (artificial intelligence) has been developed to aid in cancer screening, especially breast cancer. The AI models have been trained to study and detect cancers from mammograms. Current advancements can predict the probability of breast cancer in the next five years. AI is especially useful in epidemiological studies and community screening.


Which Is the Most Important Technology for Cancer Detection?

Currently, imaging studies and biopsies have been used to detect cancers accurately. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT (computed tomography), optical coherence tomography, and PET (positron emission tomography) have been the go-to methods to detect cancers.


Which Are Incurable Cancers?

Some types of cancers are considered to be the deadliest and carry a very poor prognosis. These are pancreatic cancer, mesothelioma, gallbladder cancer, esophageal cancer, hepatic and intrahepatic bile duct cancers, lung cancers, pleural cancers, acute monocytic leukemia, and brain cancer.


Which Cancer Has the Lowest Probability of Treatment?

Cancers like mesotheliomas, pancreatic cancer, and brain cancers have the lowest prognostic values with 7.2, 7.3, and 12.8 percent survivability (five years), respectively. Even with early diagnosis, the prognosis is not any better, and it quickly worsens, ultimately leading to death.


Which Cancer Is the Most Curable One?

Among males, testicular cancers have the highest remission rates, and females have the greatest prognosis with breast cancers. Across genders, melanomas are the ones with the highest curative rates, followed by the thyroid, Hodgkin’s, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.


Will Chemotherapy Last in the Future?

Although less toxic treatments are under development, chemotherapy is expected to have a greater life on the shelf of cancer treatments. Scientists expect to make chemotherapy obsolete within the next two decades or at least find a way to minimize the toxic side effects.


Which Is the Most Recurrent Cancer?

Recurrence is one of the major complications of cancer. Glioblastoma, the most common brain cancer, presents a nearly 100 percent recurrence and ovarian cancer has a recurrence rate of about 85 percent. Additionally, about two to three percent of cancer survivors develop cancer that is different from their primary cancer.


Which Is the Fastest-Spreading-Cancer?

Small cell lung cancers are considered to be fastest-spreading cancer. Some of the fast-growing cancers include acute lymphoblastic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, certain breast cancers, large B-cell lymphoma, lung cancer, and a few prostate cancers.


What Is the Expected Survivability of Cancer?

On average, 67 percent of cancer survivors have a minimum of five-year of survivability. About 18 percent of survivors have lived beyond 20 years, with about 64 percent of survivors older than 65 years. In the US, the average age of a child with cancer-associated mortality is just under 11 years, and in the older population, the life expectancy stands at 78 years.


What Affects the Body the Most, Chemo or Radiation?

Chemo targets all the cells of the body and does not differentiate between healthy and cancer cells. Whereas radiation therapy is locally targeted at the tumor, which changes the genetic makeup of the tumor, causing it to shrink or die. Hence, radiation shows fewer toxic effects than chemo.
Dr. Bhatia Jatin Vinod
Dr. Bhatia Jatin Vinod

Radiation Oncology


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