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Cancer Care

Cancer is a medical condition where there is an abnormal and uncontrolled multiplication of body cells. This group of mutant cells migrates and invades other parts of the body through blood and lymph. Manifestation of the disease is in the form of a tumour, which usually forms a tissue.

There has been a radical progress in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and cancer survivors are living longer than ever before. Increased awareness and advent of innovative technology in cancer care has made early detections possible. This has been the reason for high rate of survival among the patients. The medical specialty of Oncology in tandem with other specialties like neurosurgery, plastic & reconstructive surgery, urology and others provides solutions for cancer.

With latest amenities like CT Scans, X-rays, blood tests, endoscopes, pap smears and biopsies we now have access to accurate diagnosis and advanced treatment facilities. Depending on the nature and stage of cancer, a wide range of treatments including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone therapy are available along with newly-emerging options like nuclear medicine and stem cell transplants.

Medical Oncology

This is a specialty that focuses on the study and treatment of all malignant tumors or cancer. It is one of the most dynamic fields in medicine today due to the tremendous amount of research being conducted on all frontiers of oncology, ranging from cancer cell biology to chemotherapy treatment regimens and optimal palliative care and pain relief.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy typically refers to the destruction of cancer cells and has the following possible goals - total remission, delay or prevention of recurrence and/or slow-down cancer progression. Chemotherapy may be given at different stages -

  • Neo-adjuvant therapy - if the tumor is large the surgeon may want to shrink it before surgery. This may involve some pre-operative chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.
  • Chemoradiation therapy - the chemotherapy is given in combination with radiotherapy.
  • Adjuvant therapy - chemotherapy given after surgery.

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is the medical procedure that uses high-frequency rays or radiations such as x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams or protons, to kill or damage cancerous cells and stop them from growing and multiplying.

Radiotherapy today has become an integral part of any cancer treatment. Research shows that at least one in two people recently diagnosed with cancer would benefit from radiotherapy. It can be used for several reasons include Permanent cure, Control and/or Symptom relief. Sophisticated facilities are required to administer the therapy which is of two types - External and Internal.

External radiotherapy: A machine from outside the body aims radiation beams towards the cancer and surrounding tissues where the cancer may have spread.

Internal radiotherapy (brachytherapy): A radiation source is put inside the body on or near the cancer.

Depending on the type and size of the cancer, and where it is in your body, the patient may have one or both types of radiotherapy.

The course of radiotherapy during which cancer cells begin to die may continue for weeks or months after treatment ends. The examination and tests will show if the cancer has gone away, although it may be some time after treatment finishes before the full benefit can be confirmed. This is because sometimes cancer can recur at the same place or in another part of the body.

Hormonal therapy

Hormonal therapy is one of the major modalities of medical treatment for cancer. It is used for several types of cancers derived from hormonally responsive tissues, including the breast, prostate, endometrium, and adrenal cortex.

Hormones are chemical compounds produced by glands such as the ovaries and testicles. In many cases, hormones can kill cancer cells, make cancer cells grow more slowly, or stop them from growing. Hormone therapy as a cancer treatment may involve taking medications that interfere with the activity of the hormone or stop the production of the hormones. The therapy may also include surgically removing the gland that is producing the hormones.

Surgical Oncology

Surgical Oncology constitutes skillful removal of complex tumours. This requires the exceptional expertise of highly experienced and motivated surgical oncologists.

Whether a patient is a candidate for surgery or not depends on factors such as the type, size, location, and stage of the tumor. Also considered are general health factors such as age, physical fitness and other coexisting medical conditions the patient may have.

For many patients, surgery could be combined with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy. These nonsurgical treatments may be administered before surgery or after surgery to help prevent cancer growth, spread or recurrence.

Radiation Oncology

Radiation oncology is the medical specialty that involves treating cancer with radiation. The therapy is used to treat a wide variety of cancers. Radiation causes some cancer cells to die immediately after treatment, but most die because the radiation damages the chromosomes and DNA so that the cells can no longer divide and the tumor can't grow.

Brachytherapy

This is the internal radiation therapy which involves placing of radioactive implants such as seeds or wires near the tumor site to deliver localized radiation. This destroys the cancer.

3-D conformal radiation therapy (3-D CRT)

In 3-D CRT, a computer is used to create a 3-D picture of the tumor to conform or match the radiation beam to the shape of the tumor. Subsequently, radiation beams are aimed at the tumor from different angles to obliterate it.

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