Cancer Treatment Options - Choose The Best One For You


The three most common Cancer Treatment Options are: surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Its goal falls under 3 categories: curative (to eradicate cancer), controlling (to control the spread of cancer) and palliative (relief of symptoms)



Three Major Forms Cancer Treatment Options

A. SURGERY

- It is the oldest form of cancer treatment. Surgery is utilize for diagnosis, the staging of cancer, tumor removal, and palliation when a cure cannot be achieved.

The type of surgery to be used is determined by

• extent of the disease
• locations and structures
• tumor growth rate and invasiveness
• surgical risk
• quality of life after surgery



Surgical Techniques include:

1. Electrosurgery - used in cutting and coagulating effects of high-frequency current applied by needle, blade, or electrodes.

2. Cryosurgery - involves the instillation of liquid nitrogen into the tumor through a probe. It is used in treating cancers of the oral cavity, brain, and prostate.

3. Chemosurgery - is used in skin cancers. It involves the use of corrosive paste in combination with multiple frozen sections to ensure complete removal of the tumor.

4. Laser surgery - uses a laser beam to resect a tumor. It has been effectively in retinal and vocal cord surgery.


B. RADIATION THERAPY

- More than 50% of patients with cancer receive radiation therapy, alone or in combination with other forms of cancer treatment options . It is a beam of high-energy electromagnetic radiation that destroys the cancer cells.


Two distinct forms of Radiation Therapy

1. Electromagnetic radiation

• X-rays - produced by electrical devices that accelerate electrons to high energy levels and abruptly stop them at a target

• Gamma rays - are emitted from the spontaneous decay of radioactive isotopes of elements such as cobalt and cesium


Radiation Therapy Administration:

a. External beam radiation - deliver a penetrating radiation dose, depending on the energy that is used. The higher the energy, the greater the depth of penetration. Examples are x-ray, and cobalt

b. Brachytherapy (short-distance therapy) - involves the insertion of sealed radioactive sources into a body cavity or directly into body tissues. Radiation sources are sealed in applicators of almost any size or shape. Most commonly they are packed into needles, beads, seeds, ribbons, or catheters, which are then implanted directly into the tumor.

c. Unsealed internal radiation - injected intravenously, administered by mouth, is used in the treatment of thyroid cancer.


Most Common Adverse Effects of Radiation Therapy

o Anorexia
o Nausea
o Emesis
o diarrhea


The most frequently affected Body Parts

o Skin
o mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract
o Bone marrow.





C. CHEMOTHERAPY

- The use of chemicals in the treatment of cancer. Many drugs are used in various combination, administering higher doses of multiple drugs may be used as strategy, and however, the adverse drug interactions and side effects can be unpredictable and intense. Chemotherapeutic drugs may be the primary form of cancer treatment options, or they may be used as adjuncts to other treatments.
- Combination chemotherapy has been found to be more effective than treatment with a single drug. It can be taken by mouth, parenteral or by topical administration.


Adverse Effect of Chemotherapy

• Anorexia, nausea and vomiting - its severity is related to the emetic potential of the particular drug. It usually subsides after 24 to 48 hours and often can be relieve by anti-emetic.
• Diarrhea - caused by temporary lactose intolerance or an increase of gastric motility caused by the drug
• Stomatitisuppression - leading to anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia
• Fatigue - most prevalent problem experienced by cancer patient receiving chemotherapy
• Hair loss - results from impaired proliferation of the hair follicles, usually temporary and the hair tends to regrow when treatment is stopped.
• Amenorrhea - no menstruation for women
• Oligospermia (decreased sperm count) or Azoospermia (no sperm count) for men
Teratogenic or mutagenic effects leading to fetal abnormalities

To know more about cancer, please visit this page: Cancer Treatment Options Homepage.

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