In order to adequately and efficiently treat this disease, it is important to have a correct diagnosis. Each type of cancer should be managed in a way that allows for one or more treatment procedures to be applied.
Clinical oncologist Mauricio Luján explains that the objective of surgery, as well as radiology and chemotherapy, lies in curing cancer or considerably prolonging the patient’s life. The idea is to improve their quality of life, which can be achieved through palliative care and psychological support.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the most preventable forms of cancer are breast cancer, cervical cancer, mouth cancer and colorectal cancer, whose success rates are higher when they are detected quickly and are treated correctly. In general, the mortality rates for cancer can be reduced with an early diagnosis.
The Instituto Nacional del Cáncer (National Cancer Institute) lists the different types of cancer treatments and explains that some people with this disease will only receive one of these depending on the particular case. The majority, however, receive a combination of treatments such as surgery together with chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
- Surgery: A procedure in which a surgeon with special training surgically removes the cancer from the body.
- Radiation treatment: Uses high doses of radiation to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors.
- Chemotherapy: Uses pharmaceutical drugs to destroy cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy: Is designed to stimulate the body’s natural defenses in order to fight the cancer. It uses substances produced by the body or that are manufactured in a laboratory to improve or restore the function of the immune system.
- Targeted therapy: Attacks the changes that cause cancer cells to grow, divide and spread.
- Hormone therapy: This treatment slows or stops the growth of types of cancers that feed on hormones to grow.
- Stem cell transplant: A procedure that restores blood-forming stem cells that were destroyed due to high doses of treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Choosing one treatment or another is possible with some cancers where the most scientific progress has been made, specifically when it comes to making diagnosis and finding tumor markers, which allow for the disease’s patterns that are unique to each individual to be identified. Due to the fact that it is possible to identify the type of medication and treatment that best suits each person, as Dr. Luján explains, the forms of cancer that can get individualized treatment include: breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer and malignant melanoma.