Is cancer treatment worse than cancer? No, neither cancer nor treatment of cancer is so bad as understood by a common man. Normally, cancer diagnosis gives a feeling of sadness, fear, panic, and distress. In some cases, it may disturb the normal life. Today, cancer is not a dreadful disease. It is just like another chronic disease like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc. Frequently asked a question to us whether cancer is curable or not. Our answer to everyone is yes, cancer is curable in the early stages. Technical advances enable access to various diagnostic tools like Sonography, Mammography, MRI, Endoscopy, Nuclear Medicine, Tumour Markers have facilitated early diagnosis. With the help of intervention radiology, one can aspirate tumour cell from deep-seated tumours for diagnosis. So,
Mainly three types of cancer treatments are available:
Surgery: There is fear among patients about the loss of organ and function after surgery. Today, surgery is very clean and precise with the availability of Electrocautery, Harmonic Scalpel, Cavitron Ultrasonic Suction Aspirator (CUSA). A shift has taken place from Total Ablative Surgery (Total removal of an organ) to Conservation Surgery (Preservation of organ) and organ reconstruction. Conservation and Reconstructive Surgery maintain near normal cosmesis and function.
Radiotherapy: Radiotherapy techniques have changed significantly over the past few decades. There is an improvement in engineering and computing.
Chemotherapy: Standard intravenous chemotherapy targets (kill) rapidly dividing cells including cancer cells and certain normal tissue. Today, targeted therapies are now a component of treatment for many types of cancer – Breast, Lung, Large Intestines, Pancreas, Lymphoma, Leukemia, and Multiple Myeloma.
Targeted Therapies, which include monoclonal antibodies and small molecules inhibitors have changed the treatment of cancer. Targeted therapies are better tolerated than traditional chemotherapy. It leads to truly tailored therapy.
Other techniques for the treatment of cancer are hormone therapy, immunotherapy, and bone marrow transplantation. Today, a better understanding of tumour behaviour and the use of multimodality treatment helps to achieve cure with minimal morbidity and near-normal cosmesis and function. So, no one should be afraid of cancer. Neither cancer nor treatment of cancer is dreadful. We are nearly always in a win-win situation if cancer is diagnosed early. Therefore, don’t be afraid of cancer and consult a physician for regular check-up especially after the age of 40 years.