Cancer has been made so appalling by a lot of people, mostly government by showing those compulsory advertisements played right before your beloved movie. Not that it is not a dangerous disease, but from the time that advertisement has been created, till today treatment technology has transformed so much that those dreadful images of oral cancer that come to our mind the instant we think ‘cancer’ are long gone. The latest innovation pertaining to cancer treatment has not only achieved near cure success but also improved the quality of life of an individual after and during the therapy sessions.
What has changed?
If I am not wrong you must still be of the mindset where three types of cancer treatment were available-
- Radiotherapy and
There is so much that has been done since and is being done today to an extent unimaginable.
Let me share a little about it here, so that you can decide for yourself that ‘is cancer treatment worse than cancer’
- Chemo ID– This therapy is based on the fact that ‘each patient is different so is their cancer’. A small sample of their tumor tissue is taken and grown for similar bigger growth for testing as well as for stem cells. The chemo drugs are then tested over the tissue for the best results. The same drug is then administered to the individual. The best part about the therapy is
- Saves the patient from all the hit and trails
- Saves money on the large quantity of drugs incurred in hit and trails
- Saves suffering involved in administering that hit and trails
- Specific desired Results
- Saves time of both patient and doctors
- Role of Immunotherapy in cancer treatment is undeniable. Constantly evolving immunotherapy has magnified the use of checkpoint inhibitors (CPIs) and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells to tumor entities like acute lymphoblastic leukemia (blood cancer) or diffuse large B cell lymphoma. A sample of a patient’s fighter T cells is collected and reformed to create special structures called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). Now when these CAR T cells are infused back into the patient, the fresh receptors can latch onto a specific antigen on the tumor cells and kill them. Success has been achieved in treating blood cancer which was known to be incurable.
- Adoptive T cell therapy is now being translated to the treatment of solid malignancies. More progressive genetic engineering of CAR T cells is in pipeline for better use. The development of more advanced protocols for the use of tumor reactive (TCR-native) T cells is also being taken about by many researchers of the US, Europe, and Asia.
- Changes in Radiation Therapy- Previously it was assumed that radiation therapy affects normal as well as cancer tissues. The technological advancements have changed this scenario to what they call’ pinpoint precision’. This technology makes sure that the damage is restricted to the cancerous part and only it. Equipment like linear accelerators is used to deliver the X-rays into the cancerous tissue of the patients while the patient is kept in steady molds.
- Another technology called IMRT or Intensity-modulated radiation therapy is also available where computer-controlled linear accelerators direct high doses of radiation to a patient’s tumor in precise and apt intensity and sizes. This technology not even targets the cancerous tissues but also make sure that the surrounding tissue remains unaffected. It has been used to treat cancer like prostate, head and neck, and cancers related to the head and brain.
- Yet another technological innovation is Image-guided Radiation Therapy or IMGT. The underlying problem statement is that tumor cells can be malignant and can move as well as transform. IMGT recognizes the size and shape of cancer within the body and can identify it, even if it has moved within. It even targets it with utmost precision protecting neighboring tissue. It has been successfully used in tumors pertaining to lungs, liver, prostate gland, etc.
- A Three-dimensional conformal Radiation Therapy uses a machine called a wide-boar CT simulator has also become available for Oncoradiology. It helps doctors to create a three-dimensional map of the tumor and the adjacent tissue.
- Another technology called High-Dose Rate Brachytherapy practices a catheter to deliver radiation to the cancer cells, permitting a direct dose to the tumor.
- Precision medicine– Precision medicine offers disease treatment and preventative measures based on a person’s environment, lifestyle, and genetic makeup.
- Genome sequencing can highlight DNA mutations that a person is vulnerable to, this information is used to design a précised prevention protocol or specific treatment plan to prevent or minimize the damage done by cancer.
Not only has the treatment part innovated, new paradigm has been added to all aspects of cancer management, the diagnostic procedures based on PET that can show in a single image all the cancerous cells illuminated within the entire body to use of a pen-shaped device being used to differentiate between cancerous or normal tissue just by placing it over. I believe the write up must have replaced those awful images of removed cancerous voice boxes to a smiling individual taking precision chemotherapy in a daycare procedure reading a Cosmo.