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What Are Cancer Treatment Protocols?

Helen Akers
By Helen Akers
Updated May 17, 2024
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Cancer treatment protocols are a combination of the tests, treatment types and remedies for symptom alleviation that are used when treating a cancer patient. Different protocols exist for various types of cancer. The treatment may vary depending upon the stage of the disease as well as the patient's symptoms, drug tolerances, and preferences.

When cancer treatment protocols are designed for a patient, several variables are considered. Protocols for treatment are developed according to a physician's recommendations and what the patient is comfortable with. One of the variables that are considered is the stage that the cancer is in. Cancer treatment protocols typically need to be more aggressive for advanced stages of the disease and may need to incorporate both surgery and chemotherapy.

There are cases where cancer treatment protocols may just involve making the patient as comfortable as possible. Some cancers are determined to be inoperable or unlikely to respond to treatment. The patient may be given the option to proceed with chemotherapy treatments if he would like to try and fight the disease, or he may seek out alternative treatments. Pain medication is typically given to most patients to help them manage and enjoy the rest of their lives the best they can.

Part of cancer treatment protocols are routine blood tests to measure how cancer cells and tumors are responding to radiation or chemotherapy treatments. Blood tests also help physicians see how the patient is responding to supplements that might be used in conjunction with chemotherapy. Supplements are often used to bolster the immune system. Tests can reveal whether a patient is suffering from anemia and if there is too much toxic activity in the bloodstream.

Natural vitamins, minerals and supplements can be included in a treatment protocol. Supplements such as alpha-lipoic acid have been shown to provide strong antioxidant benefits and have the ability to suppress genes that can speed up the development of cancer cells. These types of supplements are used to enhance traditional treatment methods, but are not typically used as a sole method of destroying the disease. Preventative protocols may consist primarily of supplements, however.

The most common treatment protocol for cancer is surgery and chemotherapy. Sometimes the goal of treatment is to prevent the cancer from spreading while killing off existing cells that may be isolated to one area of the body. In some instances the goal is to remove full-grown tumors that are causing the patient discomfort and threatening his livelihood. Chemotherapy is used as a follow-up treatment to try to ensure that any cells that weren't removed during surgery are killed off, in the hope of preventing recurrence of the disease.

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