Certain advanced cancer hospitals manage cancer in an organ specific way, and accordingly oncologists are reserved for treating cancers affecting specific organs only. Accordingly, oncologists have successfully treated breast cancer, head and neck cancer, gynecological cancer, orthopedic cancer, lung cancer, neuro cancer, and liver cancer.
Understanding each organ specific cancer and the treatment available for it
It is the commonest of cancers affecting women, and it is believed to be the cancer that has caused the most mortality among women next to lung cancer. The mortality has been the highest among women whose ages were between 45 and 55. Breast cancer is curable if it is diagnosed at an early stage, and if the necessary treatments are carried out immediately following its detection. Breast cancer is growth of breast cells in an uncontrolled manner.
Breast cancer diagnosis
Abnormal presence of a lump
This diagnosis can be carried out by the patient, and the doctor too looks for the presence of abnormally looking lumps through physical breast examinations. Other than a lump, the changes in the breast that doctors look forward to finding is skin dimpling, unusual changes in the size, and or shape of the breast, pulled in nipples as against it being pointed outward when normal, and discoloration of the breast’s skin.
Radiologists use mammograms to seek out abnormalities in the breasts. Mammograms are x-ray photographs of the breast that are usually taken by keeping the breasts in a compressed position.
Ultrasound imaging of breasts
Ultrasound imaging is used to examine the breasts, and this technique of using sound waves helps in distinguishing whether a lump that has been noticed in a breast is either a cyst filled with fluid, or a solid one.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI
The MRI of a breast is taken using a strong magnetic field. MRI of the breast becomes necessary in certain situations to properly diagnose breast cancer.
The biopsy of the breast becomes necessary when the oncologist has a strong suspicion of cancer being present. A core needle biopsy is performed on the suspect area of the breast to either confirm the disease, or rule it out.
The benefit of early breast cancer detection
Detection of breast cancer can be made at an early stage through screening. Screening refers to the various tests and examinations that are carried out on the breasts of a person to detect the disease at the earliest, even before the actual symptoms of the disease starts to show. Usually breast cancers that can be felt and detected are cancers that have grown larger in size and that which in usual cases has spread to regions outside the breast. The treatment in such cases is very complex. Breast cancers can be treated successfully if it is detected very early, and before the actual cancer symptoms starts to show.
Breast cancer treatment
Breast cancer is treated either through local treatment or systemic treatment.
Local treatment of breast cancer involves removal, destruction, or controlling the growth of cancerous cells in the breast. Local treatment by surgery is also known by the names mastectomy, and it is also referred to as lumpectomy. This is a breast preserving therapy. The other local treatment is the use of radiation therapy. Radiation therapy involves use of a high energy radiation beam to destroy the cancer cells. Advanced equipment like LINAC helps in focusing the radiation beam on to the cancer cells, and minimizes, or avoids causing damage to the surrounding healthy cells.
Systemic treatment becomes necessary if the breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This treatment is therefore used to control and destroy cancer cells across the body. The various therapies that are used in this treatment include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biological therapy.
Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to kill or control cancer cells. Hormone therapy involves use of certain drugs that inhibit production of certain hormones in the body, like estrogen, which can aid in the revival of cancerous breast cells that manage to remain in the body post the surgery of the breast. Biological therapy involves use of the body’s immune system in fighting and destroying cancerous cells.
Thus cancer hospitals that offer breast cancer treatments are equipped with a robust team of breast surgeons, plastic surgeons, medical oncologists and other associated staff, they have with them advanced machinery for diagnosis and treatment, and they also have the facilities of advanced ICUs for apt patient management and recovery.
Lung cancer is associated with uncontrolled growth of cells in either one, or both of the lungs. These cells do not develop into healthy lung tissue, but rather becomes abnormal cells which further continue to divide forming lumps of tissues which are identified as tumors.
The symptom that is commonly associated with lung cancer is shortness of breath and presence of wheezing. Certain other symptoms like chest pain, fatigue, appetite loss, presence of blood in the sputum while coughing, persistent cough, unanticipated loss of weight, and coughing out blood, are also associated with lung cancer. Presence of these symptoms together with reports from many other procedures will be used by physicians in diagnosing the presence or absence of lung cancer. Imaging techniques like X-Rays of chest, bronchoscopy, MRI, CT, and PET scans, are also used to diagnose lung cancer. Further, the patient is also subject to a physical examination by the physician, and an analysis of the patient’s sputum is also made. All these examinations and procedures will reveal the presence of lung cancer, and also the location of the tumor, and also information about the presence or absence of the disease anywhere else in the body.
Lung cancer treatment
There are many factors which influence lung cancer treatment, and the factors on which lung cancer treatment is dependent on includes, the type of the cancer, the stage or how far the cancer has spread, the age of the patient, his or her health status, and many other personal characteristics of the patient. There is no particular treatment for lung cancer, and patients often receive treatment which is a combination of palliative care and multiple therapies. The foremost of lung cancer treatment therapies include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The patient will also be exposed to therapies that have been recently developed which include gene therapy, hormone therapy, and also immunotherapy.
The treating team comprises of radiation oncologists, thoracic surgeons, medical oncologists, onco medical social workers, and so forth.
Orthopedic cancer involves musculoskeletal tumors that affect the pelvis, limbs, and spine. Orthopedic cancerous tumors that are usually seen in children and adolescents are Ewings sarcoma and Osteosarcoma. Cancerous tumors that are more common among adults are chondrosarcoma, metastasis, and multiple myeloma. These tumors are considered to be rare, and the exact cause that leads to their formation has remained a mystery till date.
Patients who are affected with these tumors have persistent pain in their back or limbs, and this pain will not subside with medications or rest. Paralysis and hand or foot weaknesses are symptoms patients with spine tumors usually present with.
Orthopedic cancer diagnosis
Clinical examination by a specialist and further investigations becomes necessary to diagnose orthopedic cancer; mere physical examinations of bone and soft tissue swellings will never reveal the presence of orthopedic cancerous tumor. The investigations that are usually carried out include X-Ray, MRI, PET, CT, and Bone scan. Biopsy is necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
Orthopedic cancer treatment
Tumors like Ewings sarcoma and Osteosarcoma needs a combination of treatment therapies which starts with chemotherapy, which is then followed by surgery, and eventually involves radiotherapy. Surgical treatments become necessary to treat benign tumors, and tumors like chondrosarcoma. The quality of life of patients suffering from bone metastasis can be considerably improved by subjecting them to palliative surgeries. Procedures are customized in accordance with patients when limbs or arms need to be saved from amputation. Cancer hospitals make the necessary provisions for prosthetic substitutions when amputation surgeries become necessary.
There are no known methods to prevent the occurrence of musculoskeletal tumors, and these tumors are considerably rare. Since prevention is ruled out, early detection alone can lead to proper treatment. Further, advancements in technology in the recent times has brought forward the possibility of liberating patients from definite limb or arm amputations when they are affected with bone cancers. But, amputation can be avoided only when the cancer is detected at an early stage. Numerous patients have been treated and were rehabilitated, and they are now in a position to lead a normal life; these patients have benefited from the advancements made in technology, which has made complex surgeries simpler.