Other Treatments Of Cacncer


In the previous issues we discussed the three major modalities of treatment of cancer, Surgery, Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy. There are other modalities and newer therapies being used today for cancer care:-

Hormonal therapy
Some cancers like Breast, prostate and of uterus are hormone dependant. Hormonal therapy is used here for treatment, in prevention of recurrence and second cancers and also to prevent cancers. Tab tamoxifen is the most common of these, which is an anti estrogen and used for five years in cases of breast cancer.Aromatase inhibitors like Anestrazole and Letrazole are being used too.

Laser Therapy
Lasers are being extensively used these days to excise skin tumors and small cancers of head and neck. They are also used to control bleeding for inoperable cancers.

Thalidomide is a drug that is used in slow growing recurrent, advanced or residual cancers, it is an antiangiogenesis agent, which stops the blood flow to the cancer cells causing their death and preventing growth.

Radioactive Frequency ablation
Radioactive frequency ablation is a technique where cancer cells, especially in the liver are killed by exposing them to radio frequency waves. This can be done by directing the waves through a needle under ultrasound guidance or during open surgery.

Photodynamic Therapy
This is a technique by which special light waves are used to kill cancer cells. Special photosensitive agents are injected in the tumor. when this is exposed to special light waves, the reagent gets activated and releases energy to kill the cancer cells. This is very helpful in lesions of the skin.

Radioactive ablation
Radioactive ablation is a method where radioactive reagents specially targeted to specific organs are used to kill cancer cells. Most commonly used here is radioactive Iodine ablation for cancer of Thyroid Cancers.

Intra-arterial chemotherapy
For better results chemotherapy can be delivered directly to the cancer cells, especially in the liver by placing a delivery port in the artery supplying blood to the involved organ.

TACE (Trance arterial chemo embolization )
The artery supplying the involved organ can be blocked by interventional radiology techniques andchemotherapy injected to ensure direct and permanent action of the chemotherapeutic agent on localized cancer areas.

The blood supply to the involved organ can be stopped by embolising (blocking ) the blood vessels supplying the involved organ. This can be done under interventional radiology and various materials like gel foam and lipadiol are used to block the blood vessels.

Intracavitary chemotherapy
Chemotherapy can be instilled inside the body cavities, especially that of the abdomen, lungs and brain to treat disseminated (widespread) cancers.

Intra Operative Radiotherapy
Radiotherapy is often given directly to the involved organ directly while surgery, specially if a part or total of it cannot be removed.

IMRT ( Intensity Modulated Radio therapy )
This is a technique where radiotherapy is directly precisely to a localized area under computerized control and image monitoring. This is very helpful for cancers of prostate, brain and head and neck region.

Argon Beam
A special cautary machine delivers argon beam. The argon beam is helpful in destroying superficial cancer cells on surface of body or organs and more useful in controlling bleeding from the cancerous region.

Stem cell and Bone marrow transplant
This technique is used in patients of blood cancers or in metastasis cases of cancers of solid tumors.
Here the Stem cells and bone marrow ( which produce blood cells )are removed. Patient is then given high dose chemotherapy to kill all cancer cells and then the removed stem cells or bone marrow cells are reinfused.

Gene therapy
Research in gene therapy has come a long way and will soon be used in treatment and prevention of cancer. Gene Therapy changes the altered genes that cause cancer. It will be used to remove, repair and replace defected genes in patients at high risk of cancer or whose with familial history of cancer.

Copyright © Crusade Against Cancer Foundation 2010. All Rights Reserved.Terms & use