Cancer starts when the body overproduces cells in an area, resulting in a mass of abnormal cells. These cells accumulate and become tumors, and the primary goal of cancer treatment is to catch it before it can metastasize (spread) to other tissues and organs. If it does metastasize, then further treatment is possible for many cancers.
Thanks to advancements in technology and medicine, there are multiple successful approaches to treating both benign (non-life-threatening) and malignant (potentially life-threatening) cancer. Let’s talk about some of these techniques and where you can go to receive treatment that works for you.
TYPES OF CANCER TREATMENT
The main approaches of treating cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation:
Cancer surgery involves a doctor physically removing tumors and cancer cells from a patient’s body. Ideally, the doctor will be able to remove all of the cancer cells; however, this treatment may not always be possible for various reasons, such as if the cancer is too close to a sensitive organ.
Doctors perform surgery for a variety of reasons:
- Diagnosis and Staging/Grading
Your doctor may surgically perform a biopsy on cancer by removing and assessing some or all of the cancer cells. This way, the physician can determine whether the cancer is malignant or benign. Furthermore, by examining the cells, your doctor will know how far cancer has progressed, and cancer can then be staged or graded (depending on what type of cancer it is).
- Removal, Debulking, or Resecting
If removing all of the cancer cells is not an option or not possible, your doctor may opt to debulk. Debulking, which is also called resecting, entails removing as many of the cancer cells as possible. Your doctor will most likely recommend another form of treatment after cancer resection, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Your doctor may also perform surgery to provide relief if benign cancer cells are pressing on nerves or organs, disrupting their function or causing pain.
Some cancer cells may grow in sensitive areas of the body, making surgical removal difficult or extremely risky. Some people may also be in poor health, thereby sometimes rendering surgery off the table. It is best to consult your doctor to discuss your options.
Chemotherapy (often called “chemo”) entails cytotoxic drugs, administered either orally or through infusion, which target the cancerous cells. It also helps to prevent the tumor from metastasizing to other areas of the body.
Chemotherapy can be a primary cancer treatment, but it is also useful as a complement to other treatments. This treatment specifically seeks out and kills quickly-dividing cells in the body, which is why it also tends to make people lose their hair temporarily since hair follicles divide at a relatively fast pace.
In radiation therapy, doctors use high-energy wave particles to kill cancer cells and stop them from metastasizing. There are two types of radiation therapy: external beams and internal “seeds.”
The external version is most common, and a machine is used to direct beams of radiation to the tumor. The internal version is often called brachytherapy, and this is when your doctor places a small amount of radioactive material inside your body. Brachytherapy applies radiation at a higher intensity to specific body parts, such as radiation seeds implanted to treat prostate cancer.
CANCER TREATMENT IN WOOSTER, OHIO
Our certified and licensed doctors here at Wooster Community Hospital are ready to help you with prevention and treatment of all types of cancer. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, call us today at (330) 263-8100. We look forward to being your healthcare partner!