Is Hair Loss And Weight Loss A Sign Of Cancer Is Surgery the Right Treatment For Cancer?

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Is Surgery the Right Treatment For Cancer?

For many people, the word cancer conjures up images of an incurable disease or at least one with a very poor prognosis. Worse still most of the commonly prescribed treatments for cancer have various unpleasant, or dangerous, side effects. The good news is, however, that there are many effective treatment options out there, and side effects can, for the most part, be reduced or eliminated with a careful plan of medical intervention and lifestyle management.

The prognosis for patients diagnosed with cancer is better today than ever before. It is important for patients to find a doctor, in fact the entire medical team, with whom they are comfortable, and discuss this option openly with them, weighing the benefits and risks. The most common medical interventions for cancer are chemotherapy, radiation treatment and surgery. Radiation and chemotherapy (or chemo) can be used as individual therapies or together with surgery or drugs.

The goal of both types of treatment is to disable cancer cells, causing them to stop dividing or spreading, or to kill cancer cells by disabling cell metabolism. In the case of both chemotherapy and radiation therapy, toxic substances are introduced into the body as a way to poison the cancer cells. The obvious downside of such treatments is that the ingredients are also quite toxic to non-cancerous, healthy cells.

This is the basis for the side effects that plague many chemo patients, including nausea and vomiting, weight loss, hair loss, and fatigue. Most of these effects can be minimized with medications and lifestyle changes. Another type of therapy used is surgical therapy. In some cases, this is the least radical alternative, as it is possible to completely remove a very small cancer that has not invaded any other part of the body.

It is possible for the entire cancer to be removed in one surgical procedure and for the patient to be in remission from that point forward. In more serious Stage II, III or IV cancers, the doctor may perform surgery to ‘sweep’ the cancer out. This means he will remove as much cancerous tissue as possible without damaging the surrounding tissue in the hope that other treatments will be more effective.

This type of surgery will be followed by radiation or chemotherapy to continue treating the cancer tissue left behind. It is also possible that other surgeries may be recommended in the future. In addition to removing cancerous tissue, doctors may also perform surgery to better ascertain the stage of disease progression, to obtain tissue for biopsy or even to help relieve some of the painful effects of cancer.

An example of this is the removal of a tumor that puts painful pressure on a bone or compresses an organ. Any treatment, surgical, medical or natural, carries some risks and benefits. This should be carefully investigated and considered before a course of treatment is decided upon.

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