Chemotherapy is one of the common words associated with cancer. Despite being the most popular cancer treatment, it is not always the first line of treatment that doctors recommend to patients. In some instances, chemotherapy might not be required to improve patients’ health. With several developments and advancements in cancer treatment, oncologists are more capable of tailoring cancer treatments to each patient, depending on their type. Here are some other treatment options worth knowing if you or your loved ones have been diagnosed with cancer.
Surgery is a suitable treatment for cancer treatment. Some doctors specialize in cancer surgery to partially or completely remove solid tumors. Surgery is particularly effective for treating early-stage cancers that have not spread to other body parts. However, the choice for surgery might depend on the size of the tumor. Different types of surgeries play different roles when it comes to cancer treatment. Staging surgeries allow your oncologist to determine your tumor’s size and how far it has spread. Curative surgery involves completely removing a tumor, especially in a localized area.
Stem cell and bone marrow transplant
A stem cell or bone marrow transplant is used to treat certain kinds of cancers like leukemia, myeloma, and lymphoma, often in addition to chemotherapy or radiotherapy. It is an excellent treatment option for cancers that affect blood. Of the two transplants, stem cells are more common. On the other hand, bone marrow transplants are not commonly used because it is much easier to collect stem cells from the bloodstream than bone marrow. Also, most patients have their blood count recover faster after a stem cell transplant. However, a bone marrow transplant becomes a preferable option if collecting stem cells becomes challenging.
Recovery from either type of transplant can take a long time. Most patients also have a higher risk of catching an infection and are usually placed on antibiotic treatments. If your blood count is at a safe level and your cancer is in remission, then it’s safe to say that the transplant process has been successful.
Targeted therapy is another effective cancer treatment option. This procedure targets the proteins responsible for how cancer cells develop, divide, and spread. Targeted therapy treats cancer by blocking the tumor-supporting proteins in the body. It can also help the immune system destroy cancer cells by making it easier for your immune system to identify these harmful cells. Oncologists use this treatment method to develop unique medications for cancer patients as they learn more about the proteins that support cancer growth.
This type of treatment is usually carried out by either ingesting pills or intravenously, which can destroy the cancer cells or stop them from further developing. Targeted therapy can also be used to treat cancer at any stage. However, it is more effective at the first stage, as it can prevent cancer from coming back.
Immunotherapy is a fairly new form of cancer treatment that uses various medications to ramp up a patient’s immune system to fight cancer better. The good thing about this type of cancer treatment is that it works against different cancers, including those that are more advanced and more difficult to treat.
This treatment is administered intravenously and, like the other treatment options, presents patients with side effects depending on the type of drugs they take. One of the great advantages of this treatment option is that it gives patients with late-stage cancer the opportunity to live longer than otherwise expected.
When it comes to cancer treatments, it’s easy to neglect the mental and emotional side effects that patients experience. This is why supportive care is important. It involves minimizing both the emotional and physical stresses of cancer treatment. For example, acupuncture can be extremely helpful for pain relief. Nutrition counseling can help you or your loved one eat healthily and avoid losing weight during treatment. Massage therapy is also a great way to help ease any fears or anxieties with a diagnosis. There are several calming activities to keep you mentally well as you or a loved one navigate through cancer treatment.
Many other cancer treatments apart from chemotherapy are designed to keep you in good health. These treatment options will depend on certain factors such as the type of cancer, its stage, your overall health, and treatment preference. Ensure that you speak with your doctor to assess the benefits and risks of each type, so you select the best option.