The Many Ways of Treating Cancer
Cancer claims hundreds of thousands of lives every year in the United States alone. Fortunately, modern medicine has saved or prolonged the lives of thousands who in the past would have been lost to the disease. Additionally, a variety of treatment options are today available to cancer patients, giving them the opportunity of selecting their best course of action.
Surgery is the oldest method of dealing with cancer, and is still widely used when the malignancy is in the form of a tumor and establishes itself in the lungs, uterus or digestive system. A mastectomy is a surgical procedure that is widely used in dealing with breast cancer. Some surgical techniques forsake the scalpel and instead use laser lights or cold temperatures to extract cancerous lesions from the body.
Known medically as radiotherapy, this is another well-established method of destroying malignant tumors and individual cells. The administration of radiation actually begins a process that over time leads to the death of the malignancy. This type of treatment has proven to be effective when dealing with skin cancer and malignancies that develop in the esophagus, lung and rectum, and in some cases is used in conjunction with surgery. In the latest form of radiotherapy, the radiation is actually implanted in the body to do its work on the cancer cells.
The use of drugs has opened the door to dealing with some types of cancer that were once considered incurable, with new products being introduced on a regular basis. Chemotherapy is particularly effective in treating leukemia and lymphoma. The principle behind most drug treatments is how it stymies the cellular division that is the basis of cancer.
Alternative Cancer Treatments
Patients who have not found success with conventional medicine often turn to experimental techniques in the quest to cure or control their malignancies. Occasionally, these are used in conjunction with conventional techniques. Some forms of experimental cancer treatments employ existing technologies, including radiotherapy and ultrasound. One method involves the injection of the hormone insulin and another uses bacteria to destroy cancerous tumors.
Holistic medicine completely avoids conventional medical techniques and instead uses natural remedies to help the body heal itself. Holistic treatment methods may employ vitamins or herbal supplements, or may use mind processes to help patients overcome their disorders. Some of these methods are not recommended by the established medical community, and others have proven to be ineffective. Patients should always consult with a physician before considering any type of cancer treatment, whether conventional or unconventional.