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Cancer – Different Treatments

February 28, 2021
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Transcript

"All cancers are not treated the same way. To think that all cancers are the same would be like thinking that all infections are the same, but of course we know the common cold or a flesh-eating bacteria or a deep pneumonia are all different. In the same way, cancers are hundreds of different diseases. Some are more sensitive to surgery. Some respond to chemotherapy, some respond to radiation and others, a combination. So there's a long list of different cancer treatments that fall into broad categories. The first is surgery. If possible, the cancer is localized, it might be surgically removed. The second is radiation. Some forms of cancer are very sensitive to being killed by radiation and cured without having to remove them surgically. Chemotherapy means a drug or medicine that's delivered throughout your entire body. Chemotherapy targets any rapidly dividing cell. And so, since cancer cells are rapidly dividing, they're particularly sensitive to chemotherapy. There's hundreds of different chemotherapy drugs, and doctors have figured out which ones work best for which cancers. In contrast to chemotherapy, which targets all rapidly dividing cells, there's another category called targeted therapy. In targeted therapy, doctors are taking advantage of a specific feature of a cancer cell. And if designed targeted medicines to just kill the cancer cells. Hormone therapy for certain hormone-sensitive cancers, common examples are breast cancer, prostate cancer, is another tool in the arsenal of oncologists to treat cancers. Immunotherapy is another category. Doctors have figured out ways to boost or increase your body's own immune system or to teach your body's own immune system how to attack and kill certain cancer cells."

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