How is Cancer Treated?
When someone is diagnosed with cancer, they begin a unique journey towards its hopeful irradication. As with most journeys, every diagnosis, and every stage of the disease requires its own roadmap for treatment. There are different therapy options which are sometimes soley used or combined with other modes of treatment.
Chemotherapy: Treatment which uses chemicals to disrupt rapidly dividing cells. Malignant cells can become vulnerable to intervention when they are in a state of replication. Chemotherapy's aim is to "catch" the abnormal cells in this vulnerable state and kill the uncontrolled growth of cancerous cells. These can be delivered through various modes with the most common being intravenous (IV) and oral (pills).
What is Cancer?
Cancer is a group of diseases in which cells are:
aggressive (grow and divide without respect to normal limits)
invasive (invade and destroy adjacent tissues)
metastatic (spread to other locations in the body)
Radiation Therapy: The use of radiation in various forms to destroy malignant cells and tissue. Radiation can be delivered externally or internally.
Conventional Uses a single beam to penetrate cancerous tissue.
IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) Uses multiple beams of varying intensities of radiation to limit the dose to normal tissue while increasing the dose to abnormal cells.
Brachytherapy The use of a radioactive source which can be implanted (permanently or temporarily) in the tumor area to deliver a higher dose to the malignant cells. There are two intensities of brachytherapy:
HDR - High Dose Rate
LDR - Low Dose Rate