Diagnosed with cancer
One out of every two men and one out of every three women will be diagnosed with cancer. But despite those vast numbers, most individuals don’t know what that means. At the simplest level, cancer or cancer cells have lost the ability to follow the standard control that the body exerts on all cells. In our bodies, we have billions and billions of cells, and they have different functions. It’s a very complicated process under incredibly phenomenal control, and if something goes wrong and that control is lost, particular cells escape the standard control mechanisms.
Cancer or Cancer cells
They continue to grow, and they may spread. That’s what we call cancer. Those cells together, we would call that a tumor. Specifically, cancer is a malignant tumor, and we call it cancerous because not only can it invade into adjacent organs, but unfortunately, cancer can spread to other tissues, and that can be life-threatening.
Cancer can occur anywhere in the body because there are cells everywhere in the body. In women, one of the most common tumors, of course, is breast cancer and men’s prostate cancer.
And in both men and women, lung cancer and colon cancer are common cancers.
It’s important to understand that cancer in one individual is very different from cancer in another, just like those individuals are different. So a lung tumor in one person will be very different from a lung tumor in another person. Once the cancer diagnosis is made, of course, the next obvious question is, what do you do.
Several things are relevant. The stage of disease, How much cancer is present? Has it spread? Is it in lymph nodes? Has it spread to other organs of the body? Cancer treatment is very complex, and part of the reason is that cancer is this constellation of over two hundred different diseases.
They have common characteristics, but they’re all very different from each other.
In addition to that, cancer itself is not homogeneous.
There may be three or four or five or six different slight variations in the cancer cells. People ask why? Why does my cancer not go away? It shrunk by seventy percent. What’s wrong with the other thirty percent? Well, it’s probably a different subtype of that cancer that will require a different kind of treatment. There are three primary therapies for cancer: surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Surgery works by directly removing the tumor.
Radiation therapy provides x-rays to kill individual cells, and the chemotherapy contains chemicals that can kill those particular cells. But they have side effects. The best therapies that we can produce are optimizing the number of tumors that we can kill by any treatment and minimizing the amount of damage that we cause to the healthy cells that would be affected by that treatment.
Diagnosed with cancer | The best therapies
At Cancer Treatment Centers of America, we have a very robust integrative oncology program. Integrative oncology is taking those conventional oncology treatments and integrating those with therapies like acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, chiropractic, nutrition. To blend those together and to create the most appropriate treatment plan for that individual patient at that moment in time.
Cancer Treatment Centers of America has invested in a model where all of the effects of cancer and its therapy are aggressively treated and managed. It’s not just enough to kill cancer if we don’t treat the pain, the fatigue, the depression, or the anxiety that comes with a cancer diagnosis.
Receiving a diagnosis of cancer can be a frightening thing. The good news is that today is probably the most exciting time in history in terms of cancer treatment. Options that didn’t exist a few months ago indeed didn’t exist a few years ago. The ability to genomically profile a tumor and take that individualized fingerprint of that cancer may direct us to tailor treatment in concrete ways.
We believe that in the future. Many more patients with several different tumor types will potentially be able to benefit from the advances in precision medicine.
There are very hopeful options available to us as clinicians to make a difference in patients’ lives, and it’s therefore just as crucial for patients to know that, so they have those hopeful options and they take advantage of them.