Сancer is a famous “killer” of cancer patients, which invariably ranks
first in the ratings for prevalence, lethality, and belated diagnosis.
Few people know about what methods of examination can detect cancer at
an early stage and what modern medicine can offer as a weapon in the
fight against a tumor.
Malignant neoplasms are a fairly
extensive group of tumors, each of which has its favorite localization,
the speed of development and prognosis. Some cancers are able to grow
imperceptibly over the years, others are characterized by lightning
fastness. Nevertheless, doctors note the general properties of neoplasms
of lung tissue: for example, they are more often found in people who
have smoked for many years, as well as for residents of cities with poor
ecology, miners and employees of harmful industries. The likelihood of
cancer increases with age.
World statistics is disappointing:
according to the World Health Organization, a million patients are
diagnosed with this ailment every year.
Meanwhile, doctors are
sure that if patients addressed them in time, with the 1 and 2 stages of
the disease, then the overwhelming majority of patients could be saved
from death. And even with a delayed diagnosis, there are chances for
recovery. The main thing is to undergo a thorough examination and an
effective course of treatment for cancer.
Stages of cancer
Classification of cancer simplifies the selection of optimal treatment
tactics, but doctors analyze the situation far beyond the conventional
stages – because each tumor and each patient is individual.
zero stage – “cancer in place” – is extremely rare, because it implies
the presence of a microscopic tumor. Doctors usually detect such a tumor
by accident, during the treatment of another pathology of the lungs. It
is quite easy to cure it, the prognosis for the patient’s life is
The first stage implies the presence of a tumor up to 3
cm in diameter, which does not have metastases (in other organs or lymph
nodes). Treatment is almost always successful;
The second stage is
diagnosed when cancer has grown to 6 cm, and one or two of the closest
to the body lymph nodes showed malignant cells. In some cases, at this
stage, the oncologists can remove the tumor;
The third stage is a
condition in which the tumor has grown enough to affect the adjacent
segment of the body. In this pathological process involves many lymph
nodes, surrounding the body. The prognosis is usually unfavorable, but
proper treatment helps to significantly slow the progression of the
The fourth stage – also called terminal – means that cancer
has escaped from the body tissue, spreading to other parts of the body.
It is not necessary that the initial tumor has a large size: 4 stage of
cancer is diagnosed in each case when there are distant metastases.
Patients with terminal cancer rarely live longer than 2 years.
How to treat cancer?
A crucial factor in the success of cancer treatment is a timely
diagnosis. In many progressive countries, there has already been a
practice of mandatory regular screening using low-dose computed
tomography (CT). This procedure does not take much time and does not put
patients at risk due to high radiation doses. Compared with the
traditionally used fluorography, CT can establish or disprove the
diagnosis of cancer with much greater accuracy. In addition, a serious
problem is the lack of regular preventive visits to the doctor that
would help to reveal early signs of cancer. As a consequence – a person
comes to the doctor with the symptoms that are characteristic for the
3rd and 4th stages of cancer: a protracted cough, chronic pneumonia and
At the same time, European progressive healthcare
organizations know how to suspect cancer in the early stages, how to
reliably determine the location of the tumor and with the help of which
analyzes and samples it’s possible to find out a specific type of
neoplasm in order to choose the best combination of therapeutic methods.
When the necessary data on the disease are collected, the doctor
decides on the tactics of fighting cancer. It is a mistake to think that
the only effective method of treating a tumor is a surgical operation.
However, in some situations, oncologists prefer chemotherapy,
radiotherapy or the latest technologies, which provide an opportunity to
reduce neoplasm volumes.
treatment is used in situations where the tumor has clear boundaries and
can be removed simultaneously with the nearest lymph nodes. However, if
oncologists have reason to suspect that the malignant cells have spread
widely, they will offer to remove the segment or the whole body (if
possible). Clinical practice shows that patients are able to live a full
active life without some organs. In some cases, when there is no hope
for complete healing, surgeons perform an operation aimed at reducing
the tumor volume and removing metastases from vital organs.
Some types of cancer grow so quickly that trying to remove it with a
scalpel is almost always doomed to failure. Chemotherapy comes to the
rescue: treatment of tumors with drugs that are harmful to malignant
cells (unfortunately, often for healthy ones). In some cases, this
method is the only one that can help the patient. In others,
chemotherapy is combined with surgery, allowing to reduce the amount of
surgery and exclude relapse.
The optimal solution is an
individual selection of drugs taking into account the peculiarities of
the course of the disease, which is possible only after genetic analysis
of tumor cells extracted from the biopsy.
prescribed by courses, at intervals of several weeks (this is necessary
to allow the body to recover from side effects). At the end of therapy,
the patient undergoes a tomography scan to track how the tumor changes
under the influence of chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy cancer drugs:
Platinum drugs destroy the DNA of cancer cells. They relate to cytostatic agents of the alkylating type of action;
Alkylating agents – these drugs destroy proteins that are responsible for the formation of DNA of cancer cells;
Anthracyclines are drugs that form free radicals that damage the DNA of diseased cells (daunorubicin active ingredient);
Antimetabolites are drugs that affect the genetic apparatus of the cell
and kill it during division. As a rule, the basis of these drugs is
Gemcitabine (cytotoxic drug, antimetabolite from the group of pyrimidine
Taxanes are drugs that disrupt the process of dividing cancer cells;
Vincalcaloids refer to the soft means of chemotherapy, which destroy the cytoskeleton of cancer cells.
Hormonal cancer drugs
Hormonal drugs are used to treat hormone-dependent tumors, such as
uterine cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer. Also, hormonal drugs
are prescribed to patients with such oncological diseases as a kidney
tumor, a pancreas tumor, melanoma.
In male cancers,
estrogen-containing drugs are prescribed to suppress androgens. In
female cancers, androgen-containing drugs are prescribed (Tamoxifen,
For both forms of cancer, such drugs as Avastin and Zoladex are recommended;
Doctors also prescribe hormonal drugs for thyroid cancer: Thyreocombe, Thyroxin.
Although hormonal drugs for cancer are effective, they have the
opposite side – with long use, the body becomes immune to these drugs,
and this weakens the effect of chemotherapeutic drugs over time.
Antiviral drugs for cancer
Some types of cancer develop due to the action of viruses. Antiviral
drugs are prescribed to increase the resistance of immunity.
of such viruses is the human papillomavirus. In order to strengthen the
immune system of a person with cancer, a doctor prescribes drugs based
on interferon (tilorone) solutions for internal injections or ointment
Radiation therapy is based on
the harmful effect of radiation on living cells prone to rapid division.
If a person has cancer, then primarily the tumor will suffer from
radiotherapy. Doctors use devices that allow you to direct a focused
beam of X-rays to the area where the tumor is located. Healthy tissues
suffer insignificantly, especially if radiation is “delivered” directly
to the body with a probe inserted into the body through the upper
With some types of cancer and the presence of
contraindications for surgery, radiotherapy is the only method of
treatment. Radiotherapy is also prescribed to destroy or reduce the
volume of metastases in lymph nodes and other organs.
This method has recently appeared in the arsenal of oncologists.
Photodynamic therapy is a session of exposure to light of a certain
length on the tumor, which is preliminarily treated with a special drug
(photosensitizing agent), which increases the sensitivity of malignant
cells to such an effect. Under the influence of the rays, the neoplasm
decreases in size, and the effect of the course lasts for several
Photodynamic therapy can be used as an additional method
of treating cancer, improving the prognosis of recovery, and as a basic
medical tactic, to alleviate the symptoms of the disease in an
Advanced treatment approaches
doctor offers treatment methods that you have never heard of, do not
think that you will be a part of an “experiment”. It’s not necessarily
about using some outlandish drugs or newly invented devices. This group
also includes proven methods, which were mentioned above, but with
modifications to the way they are used. For example, many modern clinics
offer patients to experience the “Cyber-knife” – a device for focused
radiation therapy, which literally burns a tumor, without incisions and
anesthesia. Another example is the use of the newest chemotherapy drugs
that block the growth of blood vessels around the neoplasm, disrupting
its nutrition. As a result, the chances of a successful victory over
cancer are increasing.
Despite encouraging results of scientific
research, doctors still cannot guarantee the result in each specific
clinical situation: a patient sometimes reacts to treatment in an
unpredictable way. However, the patient and his family should do
everything possible to fight cancer. An important role in the forecast
is played by the patient’s psychological mood.
Complex treatment of cancer
Usually, cancer treatment is combined and consists of chemotherapy,
surgery and radiotherapy. Sometimes, in addition, high-dose chemotherapy
and stem cell transplantation are prescribed. Children are treated
according to standardized schemes. In practice, such treatment requires a
well-coordinated teamwork of medical specialists in various fields:
oncologists, radiologists, surgeons, psychologists, nurses and many
other hospital staff.