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Understanding Cancer Therapies - A Patients Guide

There are many different types of cancer therapies. Some are well established and some more experimental. Some have proven to be useful only in certain cancers and not in others.

If you embark on the path of researching cancer treatments, you’ll become very familiar very quickly with the treatments being used for the particular cancer you’re researching.

This article is just a basic introduction of various cancer therapies. Before you ultimately decide on a particular form of therapy you’ll need to investigate it thoroughly.

You’ll need to know the cure rate, the side effects, how long you’ll be incapacitated, etc.

But here is a very basic introduction:

The most well-known cancer therapies are:

1. Surgery;
2. Chemotherapy;
3. Radiation Therapy.

Often the standard treatment for a cancer is a combination of various therapies. For example, the standard treatment might be surgery followed by chemotherapy or surgery followed by radiation therapy:

Surgery is the removal of tissue by physical means such as taking out a cancerous lung or removing a cancerous prostate;

Chemotherapy is a type of drug which kills cells. The principle is to give toxic substances which kill cells and hopefully will kill the fastest growing cells (the cancer cells) at a higher rate than the regular body cells;

Radiation Therapy is the killing of cancerous cells using ionizing radiation. This radiation can either be given internally or, more commonly, externally.

But there are many other types of cancer treatments. For example:

Hormonal therapy in which medication is given to block or enhance the effect of the body’s own hormones;

Anti-angiogenesis therapy in which drugs are given to inhibit the growth of blood vessels which are the lifeline of all cancers;

Biological therapy (also known as immunotherapy, biotherapy, or biological response modifier therapy). This type of therapy attempts to use the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. A number of different treatments fall into this category including interferons, interleukins, colony stimulating factors, monoclonal antibodies, vaccine therapy, and gene therapy;

Laser therapy in which high-intensity light is used to shrink or destroy tumors. Lasers are most commonly used to treat superficial cancers (cancers on the surface of the body or the lining of internal organs);

Hyperthermia is a type of cancer treatment in which body tissue is exposed to high temperatures (up to 113°F) to damage and kill cancer cells;

Photodynamic therapy is a treatment that uses a drug, called a photosensitizer or photosensitizing agent, and a particular type of light. When photosensitizers are exposed to a specific wavelength of light, they produce a form of oxygen that kills nearby cells;

Targeted cancer therapies use drugs that block the growth and spread of cancer. They interfere with specific molecules involved in carcinogenesis (the process by which normal cells become cancer cells) and tumor growth;

Cryosurgery (also called cryotherapy) is the use of extreme cold produced by liquid nitrogen (or argon gas) to destroy abnormal tissue.

Hopefully this list will be useful to you when you come across unexpected terms.

Dr. Glenn Sheiner is a medical doctor with diplomas in Emergency Medicine, Sports Medicine, and Family Medicine. Dr. Sheiner is the author of the medical multimedia digital product called Cancer Research Online Made Easy.

You can now read Cancer Research Online Made Easy for FREE by clicking here: FREE Online Cancer Research Book

Dr. Sheiner created this product to help patients research cutting-edge medical information in hours not days. The product contains 5 videos illustrating exactly what to do. To learn more go to Cancer Research Online Made Easy. To learn more about prostate cancer statistics go to Prostate Cancer Statistics.

Source: www.ezinearticles.com