Battling Cancer



Kevin Baird
Anatomy & Physiology
Mrs. Bradfield
January 10, 2000
Battling Cancer
During a shower one-day, you notice a lump that was not otherwise there. The next day you see a doctor. The lump you have identified is diagnosed as cancer. Now you need to figure out what to do. There is no absolute cure for cancer, but there are different ways to treat it.
Doctors use according methods like radiation, chemotherapy or drugs to treat various types of cancer. Another way of treating cancer is with alternative forms of medicine by using acupuncture and natural herbal remedies. These treatments are more often used in cases that can not be treated very or at all. However, when using the combination of the two treatment techniques, one can receive the full benefit of all available options. The medical profession is beginning to acknowledge and accept this idea of allowing alternative medicines in conjunction with traditional medicines to ease suffering as well as prolonging the lives of cancer patients.
In order to make a decision on treatment for cancer, one must understand what cancer is and the current treatments used. Cancer starts when a cell ceases to function properly, mutates, and begins to multiply rapidly. A cancer cell has an abnormal chromosome which sends ‘the wrong’ message to the other parts of the cell, which causes the cell to grow rapidly as it multiplies. These multiplied cells can form a lump called a malignant tumor, attack organs and organelles such as bone and bone marrow, or destroy tissue in areas like the lungs. All of these cases are referred to as cancer. “Cancer knows no boundaries and plays no favorites; it can be found among people of all races and ages, both rich and poor, black and white, male or female.” Cancer is a very serious disease many people live with. On average, about 1.2 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year. Cancer is not a contagious disease; it can not be passed from person to person. Like the statistic from above, imagine the fact that cancer kills more than 500,000 Americans every year –approximately one person per minute. Many people each year are killed by cancer, yet there are more who continue to live with this disease because of advanced medicine and technology.
There are many different kinds of treatments to ease the pain and sometimes even kill the cancer. The most accepted form of treatment is through traditional medicine. This includes radiation, chemotherapy, surgery and also improving ones lifestyle to prevent future episodes of cancer. Radiation is a method that uses high energy x-rays, electron beams or radioactive isotopes to kill cancer cells without exceeding safe doses to normal tissue. There are two different types of radiation therapy, externally and internally. When giving externally, the medical profession uses Orthovoltage equipment that treats external types of cancer like skin cancer. Internally giving radiation involves one of the following treatments: Internal (Systemic) Radiation Therapy, Interstitial Radiation Therapy, Intracavitary Radiation and Intruaminal Radiation Therapy. Radiation therapy has side effects like nausea, vomiting, a burn like a suntan that tans then peels, and an ulcer may develop as well. Radiation is a common method used in leukemia and tumor patients.
Chemotherapy is also method that can cure some types of cancer. This form of therapy is given in many different ways. It can be taken orally with a capsule, pill or in liquid form via a syringe into a vein, artery or the muscle. The most commonly known form of chemotherapy is given intravenously through IV drip devices. Chemotherapy is a very risky method to heal because the drugs used are so dangerous and if an unprofessional or unqualified doctor mixed the wrong dosage, it would be fatal. Chemo does have some side effects as well. When taking chemo treatments, there is the possibility of nausea, vomiting, hair loss, sore mouth, diarrhea and or depressed blood counts.
Another form of treatment is surgery to remove the cancer. This involves removing cancerous or possibly cancerous cells known as tumors. Other times, surgery is the only option after using chemo or radiation treatments. There is not an inch on the human body that is not susceptible to cancerous tumor formation. If the area is discovered in time, surgical removal of the