There are several types of cancer treatments. The types of treatment that you receive will depend on the type of cancer you have and how advanced it is.
Some people with cancer will have only one treatment. But most people have a combination of treatments, such as surgery with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
Cancer treatment involves plenty of planning and decision-making. It can be confusing and overwhelming at the same time.
However, discussing it with your doctor and learning more about the different treatment options for cancer can help put you at ease.
Cancer treatment types
The following are the different treatment options available for cancer:
This involves carefully studying the genetics of the disease in order to gain a complete understanding of it. This would assist doctors in choosing the treatments with the greatest likelihood of helping the patient.
Stem cell transplant
This procedure is intended for restoring stem cells that are blood-forming in individuals with cancer whose stem cells have been damaged or destroyed because of too much radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
This is the most common form of treatment for cancer. It makes use of drugs that will target malignant cells and kill them.
Like chemotherapy, this procedure involves targeting malignant cells and tumors. However, instead of drugs, high doses of radiation are used to shrink and destroy them.
This procedure involves removing the cancerous tumors from your body surgically.
This procedure is usually used for prostate cancer and breast cancer.
It is intended to stop or slow down the growth and spread of malignant cells in these two types of cancer that makes use of hormones to grow.
This procedure for treating cancer involves targeting the changes in the malignant cells and tumors that help them increase, multiply, and spread.
This procedure for treating cancer is focused on boosting your immune system to make it equipped in fighting cancer.
Side effects of cancer treatment
There are a number of side effects that can happen when you undergo treatment for cancer. These side effects differ from individual to individual, even among patients who are undergoing the same treatment procedure.
In addition, some cancer patients may experience a lot of side effects while some may only experience a few. Several factors come into play when it comes to the side effects that you may experience.
Some of these factors include the following:
- Any existing health conditions
- Frequency or amount of your cancer treatment
- Type/s of cancer treatment you are undergoing
You should ask your doctor about the possible side effects that you may experience before beginning any treatment. This is so you will know what to expect.
Ask about any tips and measures that you need to take in order to minimize the side effects and better cope with them before and after your cancer treatment.
In addition, ask about the supportive care that you will receive once you have finished going through treatment for cancer.
If you are experiencing any changes or side effects, disclose them all to your doctors so they can advise you better in coping with or treating them.
The following are the most common side effects experienced by patients undergoing treatment for cancer:
- Bladder or urinary problems
- Difficulty sleeping
- Changes in your nails
- Changes in your skin
- Sexual health problems
- Nerve problems
- Throat problems
- Mouth problems
- Problems with your concentration
- Problems with your memory
- Alopecia (hair loss)
- Fertility problems
- Loss of appetite
Questions to ask your doctor
The following are some of the questions that you should ask your doctor before you make a decision on the type of treatment for your cancer.
Medications and Prohibited Products
- Can cancer treatment be affected by certain drugs, medications, or supplements?
- Should I disclose all medications and drugs that I am taking at present?
- Should I disclose all supplements (e.g. fish oil, herbal supplements, minerals, and vitamins) that I am taking at present?
- Where can I find more studies and research on the stage and type of my cancer?
- Is a research study (clinical trial) appropriate for me?
- What are the different treatment options suitable for my cancer type and stage?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment option?
- Which treatment option do you recommend the most? What are your reasons for recommending it?
- When do I have to begin undergoing treatment?
- Do I have to be admitted to the hospital while undergoing treatment? If so, how long do I have to stay in the hospital?
- How would we be able to tell if the treatment is working?
- What are my chances of recovering fully with the chosen treatment option?
- What side effects may be experienced if I undergo the chosen treatment method?
- What side effects may be experienced during treatment sessions?
- What side effects should I be worried about? Should I call you immediately if I experience these side effects?
- Will there be permanent side effects of the treatment method?
- Will there be an effect on my fertility?
- What can I do to treat or minimize the possible side effects?
Other types of cancer treatment
- Where will the treatment sessions be held?
- How will the treatment be administered?
- How many sessions of treatment will I need to undergo?
- How long does every treatment session take?
- Should I have a friend or relative accompany me for each treatment session?
- Is surgery suitable for my type and stage of cancer? If it is, what type of surgery do you recommend?
- Will there be pain afterward? If so, how much pain is it and how will it be managed?
- Are there any things I need to do prior to surgery?
- How long do I need to stay in the hospital?
Finding a specialist and getting a second opinion
- Do I have to find a specialist for the treatment method I need?
- Will you give me some advice on finding a doctor who could give me a second opinion on the ideal cancer treatment option?
If you have cancer and is needing treatment, do not hesitate to discuss the things listed above with your doctor.