When a family or friend is diagnosed with cancer, one of the first thoughts that will come to mind is ‘How do we remove the cancer?’ or ‘What are the options for treatment for cancer?’.
There are 5 common options for cancer treatment. A combination of these options can be used for the overall treatment strategy. Your doctor should speak with you beforehand on what each option is and the risks and benefits involved in each. These options also vary depending on the type of cancer you are treating, age of the patient and how well the body reacts to certain treatments.
Option 1: Surgery
Removing the cancer completely through surgery is a common form of treatment for cancer. This can help patients who are feeling discomfort from tumours. However, surgery should be taken seriously as there may be complications, bleeding and damage to organs in the process. There may also be a waiting list for surgeries in public hospitals, which also need to be considered.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy may also be used after surgery.
Option 2: Radiotherapy
Radiotherapy, also known as radiation therapy of x-ray therapy is the process of using high energy radiation to completely kill cancer cells and stop them from further growth. There are two ways this treatment for cancer can be administrated. The first, which is more common is externally through the skin and the second, is internally known as brachytherapy.
Option 3: Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is a treatment where a number of anti-cancer drugs are used. Chemotherapy works well with a combination of other treatments for cancer. When using chemotherapy, it can suppress the body’s hormone production which cancer cells rely on, stopping the growth of the cancer cells. When used on it’s own, it is not effective to destroy the cancer cells. Chemotherapy therefore, is often used with other forms of treatment.
Option 4: Hormone therapy
Hormone therapy is a treatment often used for breast cancer, prostate cancer and uterine cancer. It is the process to stop the production of glands in order to control the growth of cancer. This can be done surgically.
Option 5: Complementary and alternative therapies
These are therapies and treatments are used to complement or assist the conventional medicine already provided, particularly if these options have failed to remove the cancer completely. It aims to improve the overall quality of life for terminal cancer patients, but also the well-being of cancer patients while seeking treatment.