There are many methods used in the treatment of cancer. Oncology physicians will work with one another to determine the best treatment combination to treat your unique cancer situation.
Chemotherapy drugs are a type of poison that is given via injection directly into the blood stream. Some chemotherapy treatments can be taken by mouth, all to treat and reduce the size of cancerous tumors. Chemo is the treatment options that is most common when dealing with metastatic cancers such as, Carcinoma of Unknown Primary, C.U.P., that have spread throughout the body. When your treatment includes surgery as well the term Adjuvant Chemotherapy will be commonly used. This refers to medicine that is given after surgery to prevent reoccurrence. Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy refers to medicine that is given prior to surgery to shrink tumors.
There are a number of chemotherapy options that can be used in treating cancer. To be effective it must be tailored to the primary site of cancer. Every patient and every cancer will require a different, specialized treatment plan. Often times a combination of treatments needs to be used in order to fully treat cancer. Chemotherapy is often used as one piece in combination to treat cancerous cells.
Radiotherapy uses beams of radiation to destroy cancer cells. Beams of radiation are aimed at precise areas where cancerous cells are located in order to shrink or eliminate the tumor. Radiation is delivered using linear accelerators. Linear accelerators can deliver high powered radiation beams directly to the tumors while missing the surrounding healthy cells.
Radiation therapy is used as both a curative and palliative treatment. Curative treatment seeks a long-lasting cure and reduction of cancer cells returning. Palliative treatment seeks to reduce and slow down the symptoms being experienced with the cancer when there is no chance of curing the patient. When determining your radiation treatment, doctors will look at the size, type, location, shape, and stage of the tumor, as well as the health of the patient and overall purpose of treatment. A plan will be developed and executed according to a strict plan.
Hormone therapy uses sex hormones to treat hormone sensitive/dependent cancers like breast, prostate, and womb cancers where the cancerous tumors and cells grow because of estrogen and testosterone. Hormone therapy is often used in combination with other treatments.
Immunotherapy works in an effort to replicate the persons actual immune system to reject and destroy cancerous cells. This can be done through “immunization” in which a patient own immune system is trained to see cancerous cells and destroy them. It can also be administered in a way that recruits the patients own immune system to kill the cancerous cells.
When it is possible, surgery is the best option at offering a cure for most cancers however is not appropriate for CUP patients. Surgery is most often used in treatment when the primary site of cancer is identified.
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