How is cancer treated?
Cancer can be treated through Surgery, Radiation and Medicines. Treatment generally requires more than one type of treatment like surgery with radiation or drugs, etc. To decide on the best treatment for a given patient, initial testing is done to make the diagnosis and determine how far the disease has progressed. Based on this information, the treatment is planned. The response of disease to treatment is assessed from time to time. The treatment generally needs to be given over a period of time. Once the planned treatment is completed, cancer patients need regular follow-up.
Significant advances have occurred in all cancer treatment modalities i.e. surgery, radiotherapy, medicines. Better techniques of surgery now allow cure with less extensive operations, early discharge, and better functional outcome. Radiation machines have improved a lot with resultant much less side effects, and ability to give higher doses resulting in better cure rates. Medicines have seen maximum improvement, with newer medicines being more effective, and less side effects. There are now over 50 different types of chemotherapy medicines, and many newer non chemotherapy medicines (also known as targeted medicines) which have improved outcome to a large extent. Also, supportive care medicines have improved a lot to reduce side effects, cancer pain and other symptom relief.