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Cancer Treatments: Experimental and Alternative Cancer Therapies



Defining Cancer and its cause:

The term cancer can be defined as a category of disease involving the unregulated growth of cells.

Cells are the basic unit of life. These cells grow, multiply, and then die after some time. When the normal process of division goes wrong and cells do not die, then it causes an uncontrollable growth of cells. This growth results in the formation of lumps called Tumor. Every tumor is not cancer.

Effects of Cancer:

There are almost a hundred types of cancers that can affect any part of the body. It could be a short-term or a long-term effect. The short-term effects are:

  • Diabetes.

  • Fatigue.

  • Infertility.

  • Endocrine changes such as Memory loss, Depression, Loss of body hair, Obesity, Anemia, Weight loss.

  • Osteoporosis.

  • Neuropathy and

  • Pain.

Every two of third cancer survivor faces at least one long-term effect once in a lifetime. These effects if diagnosed properly in an early stage can treat the disease. The following are some long-term effects:

Cancer Research & Statistics:

Cancer is the second largest disease in the non-communicable category and the second most reason for death in the world. According to the annual reports of the National Cancer Institute, there is a continuous decline in the death rates since the 1990s. Every year across the world, the number of new cases seen is around 10 million. Out of which, approximately 6 million have been seen in developing countries. If we talk about India then it would come out to be 25 lakhs which consists of over 8 lakhs fresh cases and 5.5 deaths taking place every year. According to WHO (World Health Organisation) statistics in 2005, India was leading with the highest number of cancer patients in the world. This survey consists of the world’s highest number of women suffering from gall bladder cancer, men of the lower pharynx, stomach, and mouth cancers.

Cancer Treatments:

Depending upon the several factors like general health and age of the patient, the type of cancer, the stage at which the disease has reached, cancer can be cured by the following treatments:

  • Chemotherapy.

  • Radiotherapy.

  • Immunotherapy.

  • Surgery.

  • Monoclonal antibody therapy.

These treatments are also known as Experimental Cancer Treatments

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy treatment is done for the destruction of cancer cells. This treatment kills the growth of cells. The drugs used in this treatment are known as Cytotoxics. These drugs are generally made from natural sources while some of them are prepared in the laboratory. Chemotherapy is often used in combination with other treatments such as radiotherapy or surgery. As mentioned above that the main work of these drugs is to eliminate the cancer cells, which is also harmful to the normal cells to grow as it also affects their growth. Chemotherapy drugs are given in different ways such as Injection, capsules or tablets, creams, or through a vein.

Radiotherapy: In this therapy radiation beams (X-rays) are used to cure the disease by focusing the radiation on the affected area. Radiotherapy is painless and it can be done with other treatments such as chemotherapy or surgery. Being a part of the treatment of cancer, it has its own side-effects.

Immunotherapy: This treatment is also known as Biological therapy. Its main focus is on the immune system. This treatment increases the body’s immune system to fight against the disease. The immune system is boosted up so that it can reduce the cancer cells. This therapy is also used with other treatments as well.

Surgery: In the Surgery treatment, the cancer is removed from the body. This is done by cutting cancer from the affected area which can also include the removal of healthy tissues along with cancer, just to make sure that all cancer has been removed.

Monoclonal antibody therapy: This is the new innovative treatment for cancer. Under this therapy, a molecule, which is prepared in the laboratory, is designed to attach to the particular defects in the cancer cells. This is done to attack those cancer cells and to produce the antibodies that our body does.

Cancer can be also cured by alternative cancer treatments that are not a part of the standard treatment. These treatments are not approved by the Govt. agencies, which regulate the therapeutic goods. Some of the therapies which come under alternative cancer treatments are as follows:

  • Biological Therapies.

  • Immune Therapies.

  • Herbal Therapies.

  • Nutritional Therapies.

  • Metabolic Therapies.

  • Adjunctive Therapies.

  • Energy Medicine.

These therapies include diet, chemicals, herbs, exercise, devices, and physical events. They are not clinically proven and they may be untested and therefore there is no such evidence exists which could support them. But, people still believe to go for them.