Surgery is the oldest form of cancer treatment. It also plays a key role in diagnosing cancer and finding out how far it has spread (a process called staging). Advances in surgical techniques have allowed surgeons to operate on a growing number of patients and have good outcomes.
When a surgeon has to cut into the body to operate, it’s called invasive surgery. Today, operations that involve less cutting and damage to nearby organs and tissues (less invasive surgery) often can be done to remove tumors while saving as much normal tissue and function as possible.
Surgery offers the greatest chance for cure for many types of cancer, especially those that have not spread to other parts of the body. Most people with cancer will have some type of surgery.
Chemotherapy (chemo) is the use of strong drugs to treat cancer. Chemo was first used to treat cancer in the 1950s. It has helped many people live full lives. The chemo drugs your doctor or nurse gives you have been tested many times. Research shows they work to help kill cancer cells.
|There are more than 100 chemo drugs used today. Doctors choose certain types of drugs based on the kind of cancer you have and its stage (how much cancer is in your body). Chemo may be used to keep cancer from spreading, slow the cancer's growth, kill cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body. Relieve symptoms such as pain or blockages caused by cancer, and as a potential cure.|
Radiation therapy uses high-energy particles or waves to destroy or damage cancer cells. It is one of the most common treatments for cancer, either by itself or along with other forms of treatment. Learn more about radiation therapy in this section.
Targeted therapy is a newer type of cancer treatment that uses drugs or other substances to more precisely identify and attack cancer cells, usually while doing little damage to normal cells. Targeted therapy is a growing part of many cancer treatment regimens.
|Targeted therapy drugs work differently from standard chemotherapy drugs. They are often able to attack cancer cells while doing little damage to normal cells by going after the cancer cell's inner workings - the programming that makes them different from normal, healthy cells. These drugs often have different (and often less severe) side effects than traditional chemotherapy drugs.|
Immunotherapy is treatment that uses your body's own immune system to help fight cancer. This can be done in a couple of ways: stimulating your own immune system to work harder or smarter, and giving you immune system components such as man-made immune system proteins. Immunotherapy is sometimes used by itself to treat cancer, but it is most often used along with or after another type of treatment to boost its effects.
When cells in the body are exposed to higher than normal temperatures, changes take place inside the cells. These changes can make the cells more likely to be affected by radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Very high temperatures can kill cancer cells outright, but they also can injure or kill normal cells and tissues. This is why hyperthermia must be carefully controlled and should be done by doctors with experience in using it.
The idea of using heat to treat cancer has been around for some time, but early attempts had mixed results. For instance, it was hard to maintain the right temperature in the right area while limiting the effects on other parts of the body. But today, newer tools allow better control and more precise delivery of heat, and hyperthermia is being studied for use against many types of cancer.
There are 2 main ways in which hyperthermia can be used: very high temperatures can be used to destroy a small area of cells, such as a tumor. This is often called local hyperthermia or thermal ablation. The temperature of a part of the body (or even the whole body) can be raised to a higher than normal level. It isn't hot enough to kill the cellls directly, but this can allow other types of cancer treatments such as radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or chemotherapy to work better.
Many people with cancer use one or more kinds of alternative or complementary therapies. The best approach is to look carefully at your choices. Talk to your doctor about any method you are using or thinking about trying. There are many complementary methods you can safely use along with the standard treatment to help relieve symptoms or side effects, to ease pain, and to help you enjoy life more.
|In Ecuador, alternative treatments are more widely accepted than they are in other parts of the world. The lack of "red-tape" allows holistic and naturopathic healers to treat cancer patients to the full extent of their ability. Additional treatments such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, chiropactic, massage therapy and nutritional therapy are also available.|
To explore more aspects of cancer treatment with EMTA, follow the numbered links to the left of the page. If you would like more information regarding traditional or alternative cancer treatments, use the form provided in the contact us section.