Cancer is different and more potent than other diseases. Though the effects of brain stroke and heart attacks can be more severe and immediate but Cancer has its own set of aspects. It may be present in the body since a long time and detected only at a later stage which makes it difficult to contain and treat it. There are no exact causes of this disease but there are several risk factors and even if you refrain from those, there is no surety that it won’t hit you. This is why it is considered as one of the most deadly diseases. If we have to define it, it is a group of diseases in which there is abnormal growth of cells that are not needed in the body.
It is detected by finding out where it is located and what is the extent of it. All of this is found out in diagnostic tests. Some of the common diagnostic tests are as follows –
• Imaging Tests
These tests take the images of the inside of the body. They are done to find out the extent and see if the treatment is working. Different forms of energy like x-rays, sound waves, radioactive particles etc are sent to your body. The energy patterns are changed to make an image. They are used in early stages and screening tests. Images which come out from these tests are used to track the changes during the treatment course.
This procedure is used to check the tumors in the body which are not detected in X-ray. There is no need of special preparation and is a quick procedure. The images created are known as sonograms. These waves bounce off organs and tissues and create echoes. Ultrasound is exceptional to create pictures of some soft tissue diseases. On an average, it is completed in 15-20 minutes.
It is a minimally invasive diagnostic test which is done with the help of an endoscope. It is a thin and slender instrument with hollow tubes that is inserted to look inside the body. They have a small video camera on top which puts pictures on the computer screen. It is either put in the mouth, anus or urethra. They are used to find cancer in people with no symptoms or to find cancer early.
• Bone Scan
This type of test scans the presence of cancer in the bones. It may either have started in the bones or may have spread from different parts. Bone test also helps in determining how well the treatment is working for the cancer. In this procedure, a very small amount of radioactive substance is used which is injected in the vein. Areas which absorb very less tracer are susceptible to this disease.
It is a particular type which is done to test for breast cancer in women. The image that is produced is known as mammogram. Tumors that cannot be felt by hands are shown by these images. The whole procedure takes around 10 to 15 minutes. It can be done wither with the help of digital mammography or 3-D breast imaging.
Below explained are the different treatment options –
It is the treatment method in which drugs are used to destroy cancer cells. It stops the affected cells from growing and making new cells. As the speed with which the cells are destroyed is very fast, there is damage to the nearby normal cells too. There are different ways to use this treatment –
• It is used as the only treatment in some diseases like leukemia and lymphoma.
• It is used before the surgery called as neoadjuvant chemotherapy and after the surgery is known as adjuvant chemotherapy.
• In case of metastatic cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and recurrent if the cancer comes back after the treatment.
Chemotherapy is given for a specific period of time. It is given in cycles and usually it lasts for 6 months or a year. There are different ways to impart this treatment method. Some of them are Intravenous, oral, injected, topical etc.
It is an operation to remove tumor from the body. It is one of the most used and oldest forms of treatment. It can also be used for different purpose like diagnosing cancer, location of cancer and the extent to which it has spread. It can be used alone or in conjunction with other techniques like chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
In some cases, a surgeon is not able to remove the whole tumor as it may cause damage to the body. In these cases, debulking is done. As much of the tumor is removed from the body and the remaining tumor is removed with the help of other methods.
3. Radiation Therapy
Cancer cells are destroyed with the help of high energy x rays and other particles. The main aim of this treatment is to slow the growth of cancer cells and kill them without harming the nearby healthy tissue. More than half the people suffering from cancer receive radiation therapy at least once.
There are two ways of providing it. One is by external beam radiation in which radiation is delivered from outside the machine. It can treat large areas of the body too. Other method is internal radiation therapy.