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Cancer Treatment Options

Published by monica on Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Photo credit by gibsonsgolfer

A diagnosis of cancer is frightening. It can be even more so if you are not familiar with the forms of treatment. If you seek information on your own, it may be difficult to figure out which forms of treatment are viable options and which methods are still considered experimental.

Three common forms of cancer treatment are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. In the not-too-distant past, surgery was almost always the first course of action for cancer, often followed by chemotherapy in an attempt to eradicate any remaining cancerous cells. Today, when surgery is performed, it generally is not as radical as in the past. Often a tumor can be removed without removing the entire organ.

In instances where the cancer has not had time to spread, the cancer can sometimes be destroyed with chemotherapy alone, without resorting to surgery. In others, it is used in addition to surgery. When chemotherapy is the preferred course of action, there can be side effects. The drugs can destroy healthy cells in the body, and can also cause hair loss and nausea. However, when chemotherapy is an option, many do opt for it over surgery. Most people find the side effects of chemotherapy to be tolerable, especially when they realize that it increases their chance of survival.

Radiation is a breakthrough in cancer treatment. In many cases, external radiation can shrink tumors, destroy cancer cells, and completely eradicate the cancer from a person's body without any extreme side effects. In cases where the cancer is high risk, internal radiation may provide the best chance of recovery.

There are also some newer forms of cancer treatment currently in practice. Cryosurgery is performed by using liquid nitrogen to kill the cancer cells. Cryosurgery is most effective when dealing with cancer in its earliest stages. Laser therapy is another newer form of cancer treatment. Laser therapy is most often used with one of the more common forms of treatment, although in some cases it can work on its own.

You may have also heard of cancer treatments which fall into the category of alternative medicine. These treatments can range from the use of herbs to vitamin supplements to acupuncture, to name just a few. They are known as alternative treatments for a reason: they are not endorsed by the medical community. Even if they are not dangerous, a patient can waste valuable time, which in turn allows the cancer to spread. If you have been diagnosed with any kind of cancer, standard medical treatment by your own physician will give you the best chance of recovery.

The cancer treatment option most suitable for your own particular situation depends upon your individual circumstances. Numerous factors must be considered, including but not limited to the type of cancer you have, and whether or not the cancerous cells have had the chance to spread beyond the original tumor. Your doctor will take all of the relevant factors into consideration, and determine the best form of treatment for you. When it is a matter of your health and even your life, it is wise to follow your doctor's recommendations.

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