Thursday, November 6, 2008

What Are the Options For Cancer Treatment?

What Are the Options For Cancer Treatment?
By Lester Lee

Cancer is a deadly disease that is rapidly affecting many people around the world. It is the number one killer claiming millions of lives globally every year. In the U.S. alone, more than a million new cases are diagnosed with cancer and more than half a million death from this disease yearly.

Cancer has overtaken heart diseases, stroke and infectious diseases as the number one killer. It has become such a huge problem that countries worldwide are spending millions of dollar annually in cancer research with the hope to discover the best treatment methods and cures for cancer. This article will discuss a few of the cancer treatment options that are available today.

The first and most obvious form of cancer treatment is surgery. In some cases, cancer can be completely cured through surgery, but this often is not the case. If the cancer has metastasized or spread to other areas of the body, surgical removal of the cancer is almost impossible. However, if surgical removal is possible it usually involves the removal of just the tumor or an entire organ if needed.

Radiation therapy is another type of treatment that is used for cancer. Radiation therapy is the use of ionizing radiation to kill the cancer cells. The radiation is applied either by an external beam, or internally with brachytherapy.

The radiation is often localized just in the place where the cancer is so it doesn't affect the other healthy cells around it. However, it does tend to affect the healthy cells close to the tumor, but these cells are more likely to recover and the cancer cells aren't.

Chemotherapy is another form of treatment that is often used with both surgery and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to attack and destroy the cancer cells. The drugs affected rapidly dividing cells, which is what cancerous cells do, however cancerous cells aren't the only ones that do this.

Chemotherapy has a tendency to attack the healthy rapid growing cells as well. The chemotherapy drugs interfere with cell division or the duplication of DNA or the separation of newly formed chromosomes. This method of cancer treatment, although effective, have many undesirable side effects as well.

These three are the main kinds of treatment used to treat cancer. There are other not so common but highly specific cancer treatments such as targeted therapies, immunotherapy, hormonal therapy, angiogenesis inhibitors, gene therapy, vaccine therapy and symptom control therapy.

Natural treatment methods, such as acupuncture, acupressure, herbal therapy, natural food diets, vitamins supplements and so forth are also gaining popularity in the treatment and cure of cancer. There are many documented proof to show that these methods cured many cancer patients including those at very terminal stages.

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