Cancer

Advancements in Cancer Treatment

Written by Dr. Jatin Bhatia and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan

 
Image: Advancements in Cancer Treatment

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.

Radiation therapy 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.

Last reviewed at: 23.Apr.2019

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