Types Of Cancer Treatment Explained By Dr. Saphalta Baghmar

Which Cancer Therapy Is Best for You? Know The Oncologist’s Opinion

Cancer is a complex disease, arising through varied means and manifesting in different forms. It took a long time for the earlier medical experts to understand the condition and some more to discover an effective treatment. In the 1940s, the development of chemotherapy marked a turning point in cancer treatment. Since then, several treatment techniques for cancer have been devised. While some are widely effective, others act selectively, and a few are under development.

Today, several cancer treatments are used individually or in varied combinations to fight against the disease. But how do you know which types of cancer treatment will be the best for you? Read on to learn about the different treatment options and how Dr. Saphalta Baghmar, the best oncologist in Delhi NCR decides the best cancer treatment plan for you.

Cancer Treatment Methods in India

Each cancer therapy follows a distinct course of action. Oncologists consider this factor when deciding on the best treatment plan for you. The common cancer treatment methods are discussed below.

1. Surgery

Surgery is the most preferred treatment method where the entire cancerous mass can be removed. This method is often paired with chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. These secondary treatments are administered before or after the surgery to shrink the tumor or kill the remaining cancer cells, respectively.

A cancer surgery can:

  • remove the entire tumor and treat the cancer
  • debulk or remove a part of the tumor that is not located in sensitive areas to make the treatment easier
  • ease the symptoms of cancer by removing cancerous masses from areas that cause pain

Who can opt for surgery?

Surgery is primarily recommended when cancer is detected during its early stages and can be significantly removed. In some cases, surgery can be performed to remove part of the tumor from the surgery-safe areas while the rest of it is treated using a different method(s).

2. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a gold-standard treatment for cancer. It is a part of almost every cancer treatment plan. It can be utilized as a primary therapy or to complement other treatments like surgery, radiotherapy, and others. This method uses specialized drugs that target rapidly-growing cells through different mechanisms. It can be administered through intravenous (IV), oral, intramuscular, or topical means.

Who can opt for chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is effective against almost every type of cancer and at all stages. The drug to be used for this treatment is chosen based on the type and stage of cancer and the relative health of the patient.

3. Radiotherapy

Also called radiation therapy, it is another technique often used as a frontline treatment against cancer. Radiotherapy uses high-dose radiation to target and kill cancer cells. The radiation can be supplied externally through a device or internally by implanting a small, radiation-emitting, solid or liquid object near the tumor. The solid radiation source implanted internally is called brachytherapy. It usually takes a few sessions for the radiation to significantly damage tumor cells and begin killing them.

Who can opt for radiotherapy?

External radiotherapy is effective against all types of cancer at different stages. Brachytherapy, on the other hand, is best suited to patients with cancers of the head and neck, eye, prostate, breast, and cervix.

4. Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is a relatively recent cancer treatment method found effective against various forms of this disease. Cancer cells have special mechanisms that allow them to hide from the immune system and its attack. Immunotherapy strengthens your immune system and equips it to identify and attack cancer cells. Since this technique acts against cancer indirectly, it takes a few days for it to begin its effects. The benefits, however, are long-lasting as the immune system remembers these cancer cells and attacks them at once if regrowth occurs.

Who can opt for immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy works against almost all forms of cancer. Its efficiency, however, varies based on the specifics of each case. It is often used alongside other treatment techniques like chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

5. Hormone Therapy

Some forms of cancer grow by utilizing the hormones produced in the human body. Hormone therapy helps in such cases by either inhibiting the production of that particular hormone or disrupting the hormonal activity. This method can aid in slowing or stopping the growth of the tumor.

Who can opt for hormone therapy?

People with prostate and breast cancer benefit the most from this treatment. It can be administered orally, intravenously, or through surgery. Surgical control includes the removal of the ovaries or the testicles that produce the causative hormone.

6. Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy attacks the proteins and mechanisms that aid in the growth and spread of cancer. The improved understanding of cancer-associated proteins and the genetic changes brought about by cancer has aided in making this technique effective. This method strengthens the immune system and targets cancer cells by disrupting hormones, inhibiting blood vessel formation, interfering with the growth signals, and delivering toxic compounds to the tumor. Targeted therapy can be administered as small molecules that easily penetrate the external cell barrier or as monoclonal antibodies specificity against a protein or receptor on the surface of cancer cells.

Who can opt for targeted therapy?

Targeted therapy works against various forms of cancer but is found to have remarkable action against chronic myelogenous leukemia.

7. Stem Cell Therapy

Certain diseases and treatments damage the stem cells. This technique works on restoring the stem cells that develop into blood cells in the body. It may involve replanting the stem cells from the same individual (autologous), an identical twin (syngenic), or any other individual (allogeneic). Stem cell therapy acts directly against leukemia by replacing the damaged stem cells with the healthy stem cells of the donor. In other cases, it acts indirectly by enabling the body to produce healthy white blood cells (WBCs).

Who can opt for stem cell therapy?

Stem cell therapy works best against leukemia, multiple myeloma, lymphoma, germ cell tumors, testicular cancer, and recurring brain cancer in children.

How do Oncologists decide the Cancer Treatment Plan?

When devising a cancer treatment plan, oncologists consider numerous factors to ensure the most suitable treatment routine. Some of these deciding factors are listed below:

  • Type of cancer
  • Stage and/or severity of cancer
  • The patient’s relative physical health
  • Patient’s medical history and a record of the treatments received thus far, if any
  • Objective of the treatment (to cure or control, or provide palliative care)
  • Budget
  • Whether a treatment will be administered alone or in combination with other methods

The Best Cancer Therapy for You…

The efficacy of cancer treatment depends greatly on the type and form of treatment along with several other specifics. Consult with your oncologist about the details of your condition and the best treatment options along with their benefits and potential risks. The specialist will devise the best treatment plan and observe your body’s reaction to the treatment. Note that the best cancer therapy for any individual is subjective and must be decided after considering all the symptoms and medical history.

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