Cancer can affect the body in multitude of ways. No two cancer patients are ever the same, and as such, no two treatments are ever the same. Attacking a cancer requires a lot of planning and looking in detail at how it could affect the body post treatment.
Essentially there are three major treatments that dominate the field. These are chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. This brief article will help break down each of these and help make cancer treatment easier to understand.
Starting with chemotherapy is probably the best platform to grasp on to as it is the most popular form of treatment. If you’re unsure what exactly it is, it is where the body receives a form of therapy through an extensive course of drugs. It is described as a course because anyone treated this way will be taking a large number of pills every day, as well in high dosage injections. It’s quite a prone treatment in terms of the level of recuperation required, but it still requires a large amount of rest and recuperation. A major stumbling block that comes with chemotherapy is the short term damage it can actually inflict upon the body. Because the medicine being taken has to travel through the blood stream before it can find the right area to work on, other organs and tissue can find themselves absorbing the drug and making someone sick. This is why it is common for someone to feel a lot of fatigue after taking drugs.
Now cancer patients will commonly have their treatments grouped together. Chemotherapy is commonly married with radiotherapy. This is the most advanced treatment in terms of technology and works in a much more specific manner than chemotherapy does. Radiotherapy works by purposely directing high dosage bouts of radiation on to areas where cancer is prevalent. Because of the strength of the radiation, its aim is to attack the cancerous area and break down those dangerous cells. If it can successfully disrupt the growth and separate it, it can then help the body get rid of any cancer cells much more easily. This is done through a course of chemotherapy. The only major side effect of radiotherapy is just how sick it can make someone feel. When you think about it on a basic level, you are purposefully attacking the body and causing a small level of harm to eradicate a bigger threat.
If it’s seen that a cancer can be removed manually, then surgery will certainly remove any tumour. By cutting away any tissue that has been affected by cancer, you can be assured that that certain cancer has no lost the chance to grow and continue to spread. Having surgery requires a few extra steps, such as an assessment with a consultant and surgeon to make sure the surgery can go ahead, as well as tests to make sure your body is ready for surgery. This can include blood tests, new X-rays to get an up to date analysis on where exactly the cancer is located and an ECG to check that your heart rate is ok. Now surgery can come with some complications that can affect someone in the long term. A person could have nerve damage, body image and lymphoedema (this is where parts of the body that regulates how fluid is drained stop working correctly).
These are just the three main treatments used to fight cancer. As technology advances, new treatments will rise in popularity, but as it stands, these are the tried and tested methods for combating what is a powerful and dominating illness.