Modern and evidence based cancer therapy, requires the cooperation of many different medical specialists. Surgical treatment, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, therapy with biological agents combined or not with best supportive care, could all be needed, depending on the cancer type and stage.
A Medical Oncologist is the specialized doctor who will inform the patient regarding the appropriate treatment options. Following this, the Medical Oncologist will bring together all the relevant specialties in order to offer the patients the best available treatment for his case.
Below you will find some basic information regarding different kinds of treatment:
Its aim is either to totally excise the tumor in early stages of cancer or to reduce the tumor burden in order for other treatments to become more effective. It may also be used for palliative purposes.
It uses cytotoxic radiation against rapidly dividing cancer cells. It can be offered either combined with surgical treatment and chemotherapy or as a sole treatment. It can be especially used for pain relief in painful areas affected by cancer (i.e. bones).
It is treatment with medication that aim at cancer cells. Its basic difference than surgery or radiotherapy is that the drug circulates with the blood throughout the body and aims at all cancer cells even those remoted form the original site of disease. Chemotherapy can consist of a sole drug or a combination and it can be administered intravenously or orally. Additionally there are now many ways to control or even prevent chemotherapy related side effects allowing many chemotherapy receiving patients to work, travel and fully participate in everyday activities.
Hormonal therapy aims to block certain hormones that promote cancer cell growth. Cells from organ like breast or prostate bear hormonal receptors that promote cellurar growth when binding hormones. Some cancer cells also bear hormonal receptors and in many cases in a greater extent than normal cells and are very sensitive to the stimulating hormone effect. Hormone treatment aims to either reduce the amount of circulating hormones or block the binding of hormones to the cell receptors.
Biologic treatment Immunotherapy
Biologic treatment uses molecules that normally exist in the body (like anitbodies) and aim only the cancer cells. This kind of treatment is very effective and less toxic than chemo therapy. Immunotherapy stimulates the immune system of the patient and educates it to target the cancer cells.
We will be happy to provide you with any additional information about cancer diagnosis and treatment.