Cancer Treatment – Basic Facts
Cancer treatment is vastly complicated and keeps evolving continuously.
We provide scientifically valid information, with a focus on simplicity. There will be exceptions to the general statements we mention here, and your oncologist knows better than what you read here.
We provide a roadmap to understanding Cancer and its treatment. Not the finer details applicable for a particular Cancer in a particular patient.
Where is the Cancer from.?
Cancer indicates the indicates the tendency for cell to grow, and invade, and spread.
The symptoms, aggressiveness and effectiveness of treatment, depends on where the Cancer is starting from.
A Cancer of the Throat can behave differently from a Cancer of the Uterus. Listening to the experiences of a patient with Cancer Uterus, is not of much practical use, for a patient with Cancer of the Throat.
That is why it becomes important to know, “Where did the Cancer Start from”?
Once you know where the Cancer has started from, you can narrow your search for more valid and relevant information.
Ask questions like,
What is the Stage.?
What is the type of the tumor ( relevant in some cases ).?
What is the Treatment Plan.?
Most tumors tend to spread in an orderly fashion. They start in an organ first, then they go to the lymph nodes, then they spread to other organs via blood stream.
This extent of spread is denoted by the concept of ‘Stage’.
Most Cancers have 4 Stages – Stage I to IV.
Stage I being the earliest form and Stage IV being the most advanced.
Stage denotes the time between Cancer onset and the time the patient walks into the hospital, it is purely in you hands.!
There are different treatment methods available to treat Cancer.
The common of these are
Radiation ( X rays )
Medicines ( Chemotherapy, Immunotherapy, Targeted therapy, Hormone therapy etc )
For a particular patient, it may be necessary to use either a single method or a combination of these methods of treatment.
Your chances of cure depend on identifying the optimal sequence of these treatments.
That is best done by a team of doctors – involving a Surgical Oncologist, a Radiation Oncologist and a Medical Oncologist.
They will discuss the details and behaviour of your Cancer and will decide on the optimal sequence of the procedures to treat your cancer – “The Treament Plan”
Cancer is a dangerous condition if untreated, hence it may be necessary to accept certain minimal and manageable treatment related changes, commonly called as side effects.
Different treatments can produce different symptoms, ranging from negligible to bothersome.
Don’t worry, we have all the information you need to cope up with these changes.
Cancer treatment, excluding Chemotherapy, is a reasonably affordable affair. Surgery and Radiation combined will cost you probably around 4-5 lakhs max.
Chemotherapy, involving drugs, can have varying costs. This depends on the type of drugs used.
Older drugs cost a few hundreds to thousands, while newer drugs can cost dozens of thousands.
Having a good Health Insurance Plan should offset much of the costs involved.