Despite years of research and millions of dollars in funding, medical scientists have yet to discover a way to cure cancer completely. Though progress is made each year in cancer research studies, and the findings are showing new ways to fight cancer, help patients stay in remission longer, and prevent the disease in the first place, a definite way to cure cancer continues to elude medical experts. Though this reality seems dim, the advancements made in the treatment of cancer have improved vastly over the years, and many people can now positively face their battle with cancer with hope.
The specific type of treatment any particular patient receives depends on many factors, the most important of which is the type of cancer one has. Other factors that may dictate treatment include the stage that the cancer is in and other medical conditions that may be impacting the patient's condition. While it's true that there is yet no way to cure cancer, cancer can be forced into remission, in some cases to the extent that a patient is essentially cured because the cancer never returns. The two most common methods of treating cancer are radiation and chemotherapy.
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Radiation is generally used to treat location specific cancerous tumors. Prostate cancer is commonly treated with radiation, along with other common forms of the disease. In most cases, radiation treatment is administered in small amounts, targeting the specific area of the tumor. Many cancers respond to radiation by shrinking, but not all. In some cases, a radiation implant may also be used as treatment.
Chemotherapy is a chemical treatment that is administered intravenously. The drugs used in chemotherapy tend to vary depending on the cancer treatment. Chemotherapy is administered in rounds, or regularly scheduled doses. Though chemotherapy does not cure cancer, it is often very successful in preventing the spread of certain types of cancer and initiating remission.
In some cases, an oncologist, who is a specialist that treats cancer, may recommend a combination of radiation and chemotherapy. If a cancerous tumor can be surgically removed, radiation and chemotherapy courses may be shorter. Though there are no drugs to cure cancer, there are drugs that are given to treat cancer. Many are designed to address the side effects of common cancer treatments, such as fatigue and compromised immunity.
Even though researchers have yet to discover a way to cure cancer, cancer research has provided great advancements in recent years. Earlier detection, prevention, and aggressive treatments have led to an improved success rate for treating many types of cancer. As a patient, these advancements might mean fighting off the disease until there is a way to cure cancer.