Cancer has been a global problem for
decades, but the changing lifestyle and unhealthy food preferences are
aggravating this problem.
The Prevalence of cancer is increasing at an
alarming rate globally. 18 million new cases of cancer been discovered every
year. With cancer being such a menace in almost all countries, the prevention
of cancer is one of the significant challenges of the healthcare industry.
Treatment of Cancer
The earlier cancer is identified
and treated; the more are its chances of being cured. Particular types
of cancer such as those of the breast, skin, mouth,
testicles, prostate, and rectum may be identified by routine self-exam or
other screening measures before the symptoms turn critical. A majority of cases
of cancer are detected and diagnosed after a tumour can be felt or
when other symptoms develop. In some cases, cancer is diagnosed
incidentally as a result of evaluating or treating other medical conditions.
Cancer diagnosis begins thorough a
physical exam and complete medical history. Laboratory check-ups
of blood, urine, and stool may detect abnormalities that relate to cancer.
When patients show signs of a tumour, imaging tests such as X-rays, computed
tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound,
and fibre-optic endoscopy examinations are carried out to determine cancer's
location and size. To confirm the diagnosis, doctors mostly perform
a biopsy, in which a tissue sample is removed from the suspected tumour
and studied under a microscope to check for cancer cells.
If the diagnosis is positive, other tests
are performed to provide precise details about cancer. This customary follow-up
phase of diagnosis is called staging. The most essential part the doctors
figure out first is whether cancer has spread from one area of the body to
Based on the type and stage of cancer,
treatments to destroy the tumour or slow its growth may involve some
combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy
People with same cancer may have
different treatments. The decision over the treatment is based on:
lWhere in the body cancer started?
lThe size of cancer and the stage
lThe grade of cancer or how fast it is growing
lThe type of cancer cells in the tumour
lAny symptoms that the patient may have from the cancer
Some of the common types of cancer
lChemotherapy – this uses anti-cancer drugs to eradicate cancer
lSurgery – this is carried out to remove all or part of cancer
with an operation
lRadiotherapy – this uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer
cells in one area and can be given both externally and internally.
lImmunotherapy – this uses the immune system to find and destroy
Newer Ways of Treating Cancer
With the evolution of medical science, gene
therapy has stepped in. With this method, the cancer cells can be replaced by
healthy cells. Gene therapy is applied in different ways for cancer treatment.
Blocking Processes that Helps Cancer
In this treatment, the processes that
cancer cells use to survive are blocked. Most cells in the body are programmed
to die if their DNA is damaged beyond repair. Cancer cells attempt to stop this
process for their survival. Thus, the main aim of this therapy is to reverse
this blockage implemented by the cancer cells.
This method uses viruses to kill cancer
cells rather than delivering it to the genes. For instance, Drug T-VEV is one
of the types of altered viruses, it uses a strain of cold sore viruses and
commands those viruses to destroy the cancer cells. T-VEC has become a
successful mean of gene therapy and is now used in the treatment of melanoma
skin cancer, and head and neck cancer.
Gene Inhibition Therapy
Inhibition therapy could be used for the
treatment of infectious diseases, inherited disease and cancer caused due to
inappropriate gene activity. The goal here is to produce a gene whose product
inhibits the expression of another gene or interferes with the activity of the
product of another gene. Gene inhibition therapy helps to eliminate the
activity of a gene that encourages the growth of cancer cells.