Cancer continues to be one of the most terrifying diagnoses that a person can receive, oftentimes leaving them confused and afraid of what to do next. The situation becomes even more stressful when you find out that there are countless treatments for cancer, but you are not sure what the risks of each one are. Dr. Michael Chin of Worcester explains some of the most common forms of cancer treatments, and how they can affect your body.
For many new cancer patients, surgery is a viable route to take when deciding on either the full course, or part of the course of treatment. The ultimate goal of having surgery is to give doctors the opportunity to remove the cancerous tumor, particularly if the cancer has not metastasized, or spread to other parts of the body. Like any other surgery, there are risks that are associated with this option, including the risk of infection following the procedure. If the doctors are confident that the cancer can be killed using a more conservative method, they will likely take that route to avoid having to cut into the body.
Known as one of the most common forms of cancer treatment, chemotherapy is a treatment that works to shrink the size of cancer cells, and is oftentimes used alongside other cancer treatments. Chemotherapy can be administered in a number of different ways, including a pill form, through an IV, or an injection. Chemotherapy is also commonly used when there is evidence that the cancer is spreading to other parts of the body. Like many forms of cancer treatments, chemotherapy can cause significant side effects, including nausea, fatigue, and hair loss.
Using a similar approach to chemotherapy, radiation therapy uses higher doses of radiation to help kill cancer cells. Like all treatments, the decision to incorporate radiation therapy into one’s treatments will be determined by what kind of cancer it is, where the cancer is, and how far it has spread. Overall, radiation therapy can help to shrink or even eliminate cancerous tumors. Side effects of radiation therapy include skin problems, nausea and fatigue.
Unlike chemotherapy and radiation therapy, immunotherapy uses a person’s immune system to fight cancer by using living organisms. Immunotherapy uses white blood cells and tissues of the lymph system to help the immune system fight the cancer. While immunotherapy was only officially introduced as a cancer treatment in recent years, it is quickly becoming more common for cancer patients. Patients who receive immunotherapy may experience, chills, fatigue, and loss of appetite.
Because of the growing amount of different types of cancer, the treatment that is used to help fight the disease will likely vary from patient to patient. It is important to note that these are some of the most commonly used forms of treatment, and having a strong understanding of each one can be beneficial for someone who has been recently diagnosed.