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Cancer Treatment

Cancer applies to a group of diseases that can affect any part of the body, although it is extremely rare to hear about heart cancer (cardiac sarcoma). One of the characteristics of cancer is the rapid reproduction (proliferation) of the malignant cells which, beyond their usual boundaries, can invade adjoining parts of the body to spread to other organs. This is known as metastasis, the main tactic cancer uses to bring death. As they say, cancer kills its victims by metastases.

Cancer is a serious problem everywhere on earth. It is the major cause of death worldwide, causing 7.6 million deaths in 2008, nearly 13% of global mortality. Each year, over 12 million people are diagnosed with cancer, according to World Health Organization (WHO). Even if it is not you, you surely have someone you know who is a victim of the disease. Whether alternative or conventional, a fast and effective treatment is extremely necessary to stop the disease.      

Cancer treatment includes different types of therapies of which the three main are surgical therapy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Surgery aims at removing the tumor and assesses its severity and extension in the body. Chemotherapy involves administering powerful chemical agents (drugs) to destroy cancer cells in the entire organism. Radiation therapy, in the other hand, is a local cancer treatment; it attacks and damages cancer cells by delivering high energy x-rays to the tumor and a small healthy tissue surrounding it. Delivering high-dose modifies the genetic makeup of cancer cells, thus preventing them from reproducing.    

However, all patients do not receive all these three therapies: surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The same, some patients can receive not only all of them but also other therapies, depending on the cancer they have. For example, in breast cancer and prostate cancer, hormone therapy can be integrated into the treatment. In this case, the hormone is used to prevent certain hormones from influencing the growth of hormone-dependent malignant cells. In breast cancer treatment, hormone therapy can be used to block or reduce estrogen production; in prostate cancer treatment, hormone drugs are used to inhibit androgen production.   

Cancer treatment may include other therapeutic approaches. For instance, in many types of cancer, immunotherapy may be a good option. Immunotherapy is the fact of using the body's own immune system to help fight disease. In cancer treatment, Immunotherapy drugs are used to stimulate the body's immune defenses to force cancer cells committing suicide. Those therapeutic agents transform survival signal of cancer cells into death signal which causes them to destroy themselves (self-destruction of cancer cells).   

Cancer treatment varies depending on the cancer and its stage at diagnosis. As healthcare professionals would tell you, “Every cancer has its treatment". However, regardless of the therapy (ies) used in the treatment, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle and eat a healthy and well-balanced diet to improve the chance of recovery or survival. In fact, there is no effective cancer treatment without a good diet and healthy lifestyle.