While cancer is one of the most feared diseases one can face, receiving such a diagnosis doesn’t always mean the end of the world. Various treatment options have proven effective in treating this disease or preventing it from spreading further. Because cancer is not always easily contained, taking an aggressive approach to treatment is preferred before it metastasizes. First-line treatments are the preferred options for treating cancer and preventing further damage. Here are some first-line treatments your doctor may recommend if you or someone you love receives a cancer diagnosis.
The most straightforward method to eliminate cancerous growths is to remove them from the body through surgery and, in many cases, a single surgery may be enough to remove nearly all of the cancer cells in a patient. However, not all tumors are easily removable; cancer might be so deep within the body that doctors may have to be extremely invasive. The patient might also be unable to tolerate surgery due to poor health or other health conditions.
Most importantly, the tissue surrounding the tumor might contain precancerous cells. Hence, surgery requires the removal of healthy tissue along with cancer, which in some cases may lead to unwanted consequences.
A team of doctors should assess the condition and check whether the patient is a suitable candidate for surgery. If not, it’s time to move on to other first-line therapies. It’s important to note that surgery rarely is a patient’s sole treatment option. Other techniques are used alone or in tandem to maximize the removal of cancerous tissue.
Unlike healthy cells, cancerous cells have lost the ability to self-regulate. Hence, they reproduce uncontrollably, taking a heavy toll on resources and crowding out other cells. The drugs used in chemotherapy destroy rapidly dividing cells. Human cells are at their most vulnerable when they are in the process of division; chemotherapy drugs interfere with normal division, leading to the death of the cancerous cell.
Chemotherapy may be administered alone or in combination with other therapies and is often used to reduce the size of cancerous tumors, making surgery safer and more effective. Chemotherapy may also be used after surgery to ensure no traces of the cancer remain.
Unfortunately, chemotherapy affects more than just cancer cells. It can also harm healthy cells that have naturally high division rates. In particular, chemotherapy damages cells in the bone marrow that manufacture blood cells, and the immune system also may be compromised from the chemicals used in these treatments.
Radiation therapy involves the targeted application of radioactive substances in affected areas. It might seem counterintuitive to administer radiation to treat disease, however, correct doses of radiation can kill cancer cells; they also work by destroying cells that are dividing at the moment the treatment occurs.
Radiation therapy has become highly efficient and can target with great accuracy cancerous parts of the body; this not only reduces side effects, it also is most useful for highly localized tumors.
There are a number of treatment options that can target cancer more effectively, including 3D conformal radiation therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy, and image-guided radiation therapy. Which one is best for you depends on your condition and oncologist’s recommendation.
The James and Wooster Community Hospital – A Partnership of Hope
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer and live in or near Ohio, it’s comforting to know that the nation’s best cancer care providers are right in your own backyard. The James is a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s most prestigious cancer centers that develops clinical practice guidelines to improve the quality of care. Partnered with Wooster Community Hospital, The James is considered the platinum standard of comprehensive cancer care and top-notch oncology services. Reach out to us at (330) 262-2800 or use our online form to schedule your appointment now.