Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide. In the 2016 year, 8.9 million people died from this disease. Chemotherapy is still the most common method to treat cancer but there are other methods used to fight this disease which can become more effective than chemotherapy in the near future. This article will also tell you about effective ways to diagnose cancer at the early stages.
In immunotherapy, one of the world’s leading cancer research centers makes medications from the patient’s own cells. The tumor of each patient is examined at the genetic level to determine the mutations that can make cancer “visible” to the immune system.
The next stage is hunting. The patient’s immune system is already attacking cancer cells but without success. Doctors study white blood cells and identify among them those that can fight cancer. After that, similar white cells in huge quantities are created in the laboratory and injected into the patient’s body.
Judy Perkins had breast cancer at the last stage. She had metastases in her whole body and tumors in the liver that were the size of a tennis ball. However, a week after undergoing immunotherapy, Judy felt the tumor in her chest decrease, and after another 2 weeks, it completely disappeared. The problem of immunotherapy is that for some patients it works but it doesn’t help most people.
2. Targeted Therapy
Targeted therapy is one of the important areas of drug treatment for cancer. The growth of specific cancer cells that are responsible for tumor progression is blocked.
The most successful targeted treatments use medications that target a protein or enzyme that carries a mutation or other genetic changes. These features are specific only to cancer cells and are not present in normal body tissues and this allows to effectively fight the disease.
3. Tumor-infiltrating Lymphocytes
This method is used to treat skin cancer and is based on the use of T-lymphocytes, natural killer cells that are found between the tumor cells.
Doctors select T-lymphocytes which better cope with the destruction of melanoma cells. The resulting lymphocytes are artificially propagated and then carried into the patient’s blood. Studies show that their activity is quite high and allows to destroy the tumor in a natural way. The production of killer cell clones on average takes about 2–4 weeks.
4. Hormone Therapy for Cancer
This method only helps in the case of hormone-sensitive types of cancer such as breast, ovarian, endometrial, and prostate cancers. Hormone therapy as a treatment for cancer includes taking medications that affect the hormone’s activity or stop their production. Such treatment can kill cancer cells, reduce their number, and stop a growing tumor.
5. Therapeutic Bacteria
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have used the soil bacteria Clostridium new for cancer treatment. Clostridia are anaerobes, they live where there is no oxygen and thus they can easily find a tumor in the body because the oxygen level in it is very low.
Living clostridia kill the tumor with their enzymes and then they use the remnants of cancer cells for nutrition. When these bacteria were injected into rats and dogs with brain tumors, animals were more likely to survive than without bacterial therapy.
Now it has become obvious that they can significantly enhance other methods of anti-cancer therapy. But before the full clinical use of this bacteria for cancer treatment, scientists need to do a lot of tests.
Effective methods to diagnose cancer at the early stages
The most important thing with any cancer is an early diagnosis. This helps not only to gain valuable time in the fight against the disease but also to choose the right method to fight with. Doctors usually use the following methods to diagnose cancer:
- Low-dose computed tomography for lung cancer screening. Particularly recommended for people who are smoking or those who quit smoking no more than 15 years ago. Today it is the most accurate method for early detection of lung cancer.
- Colonoscopy. Colonoscopy Brooklyn is recommended in cases of suspected bowel cancer. It can be performed once every five years. At the request of the patient, the examination can be carried out under anesthesia and not deliver any unpleasant sensations. Colonoscopy is the most accurate and effective method for diagnosing bowel cancer.
- Mammography. It is advisable for women after 40 to undergo this procedure every year. This is the most effective method to recognize breast cancer.
- Gastroscopy. This well-known examination is an early diagnosis of stomach and bowel cancer. If a person has a genetic predisposition to oncological diseases of the gastrointestinal tract or the patient has serious complaints of stomach disease, it’s recommended to consult a gastroenterologist and undergo gastroscopy.
- PAP testing. Pap test is an exam that a doctor uses to recognize cervical cancer in women. It can also help identify the precancerous condition and defeat it with the help of gentle treatment.