Most cancer patients undergo surgery. This option often holds the highest chances for recovery, especially if the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body. Anatomy and tumor location(s) limit the uses of surgery and are key risk factors associated with the treatment. The need to treat the area around the tumor to remove any cancer cells increases the risk for damaging nearby organs and blood vessels. The recovery period from surgery is usually long and costly and may involve pain, infection and post-surgery bleeding.
An aggressive form of chemical drug therapy, designed to destroy rapidly growing cancer cells in the patient’s body. Chemotherapy is often combined with other therapies, such as surgery and radiation, and differs from them in that it treats the entire body. Chemotherapy is designed to kill cells that divide quickly. While cancer cells divide rapidly, other cells in the body divide quickly as well. Blood cells, hair, skin, and cells lining the intestinal tract can be adversely affected, resulting in excessive bleeding, infections, fatigue, hair loss, nausea, and weight loss. In addition, chemotherapy may cause long-term damage to organs such the heart, kidneys and lungs.
External Beam Radiation
Damages cancer cells by destroying the genetic material that controls how cells grow and divide. The photon beam is the most common form of radiation used for cancer treatment. Photon beams of energy affect the cells along their path as they travel throughout the body toward the cancer cells, pass through them and exit the body. Both healthy and cancer cells are damaged by radiation therapy.
Brachytherapy (internal radiation)
Has continually progressed as a viable form of radiotherapy. Radioactive seeds or sources are placed in or near the tumor, providing a high radiation dose to the tumor while reducing the body’s exposure to radiation. Brachytherapy relies on the use of photons and beta particles which are characterized by a relatively low energy transfer. The relatively long range of the photons increases the risk of damage to healthy tissue.