Most Common Cancer Treatments and Side Effects
Cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases affecting both men and women. Aside from the extremely expensive cost of treatment, cancer patients are also suffering from various signs and symptoms associated with the diseases and its management. According to the National Cancer Institute, it was projected that over 1.6 million of new cancer cases will be diagnosed while half a million cancer deaths were estimated. This was only in the United States for the year 2016. How much more if we include the statistics in other nations?
The cancer treatment depends on the type of cancer and the stage of the disease. Below are some of the most prominent management for patients who have cancer.
The term chemotherapy refers to the utilization of drugs to eradicate cancer cells. When a doctor recommends this type of cancer treatment, the goals are cure, control and palliation. The first goal is to cure cancer as much as possible and to prevent its recurrence. However, there is no guarantee that cancer is cured because it requires years to know that a patient already survived cancer. Control is the next aim of chemotherapy if cancer cannot be cured. Chemo drugs are used to decrease the size of a cancer tumor and halt cancer from spreading to other organs. Lastly, when cancer is advanced and both cure and control are not likely, the focus of cancer treatment is to ease the symptoms.
Common side effects associated with chemotherapy include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, hair loss, increased risk of bruising and infection. To manage these symptoms, doctors prescribe medicines before or during the administration of chemotherapeutic drugs.
2. Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy makes use of x-rays, gamma rays, and electron beams to kill cancer cells. It can be a standalone treatment or simultaneous with other treatments like chemotherapy. The radioactive substance is delivered by positioning a radioactive material near the tumor as in the case of brachytherapy. On the other hand, a machine is utilized to deliver radiation.
The most usual radiation therapy effects include skin reactions and fatigue. Skin problems occur because radiation enters the skin to reach the affected area. To prevent irritation, it is recommended to wear loose clothes and avoid fragrance-free harsh soaps. Fatigue is usually a result of anemia, depression, and poor appetite. Feeling of tiredness usually disappears after management.
During surgery, doctors cut away the cancer tumor and its surrounding tissue. It is one of the oldest ways of treating cancer but is still as effective as the others. Oncologists have several reasons for performing surgery. For one, it is performed to diagnose cancer through biopsy. Moreover, surgery is done to know the tumor size and to determine if it has metastasized. Cancer tumor can also be removed through surgery. The most common side effects of surgery are a pain, appetite loss, fatigue, and bleeding.
Other cancer treatments include hormone therapy, stem cell transplant, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any diseases.