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Alternate Methods For Cancer Treatment Essay

1986 words - 8 pages

Alternative Methods for Cancer Treatment
Kevin Moore
April 16, 2012
Darrell Haley

Alternative Methods for Cancer Treatment
If someone you know is being treated for cancer, you may want to learn more about what they are going through. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are the main types of cancer treatment. However there are alternative methods for cancer treatment.
Surgery is often the first treatment option if the tumor can be taken out of the body. Sometimes only part of the tumor can be removed. Radiation, chemotherapy, or both might be used to shrink the tumor before or after surgery. Doctors use chemotherapy to kill ...view middle of the document...

Each cancer is different, and each person's response to treatment is unique. It is best not to compare one person's treatment to another’s.
What are the side effects of cancer treatment?
The type of treatment a person gets depends on the cancer type and stage (how far the cancer has spread), the age of the patient, and other medical problems and treatments the person has had. Each drug or treatment plan has different side effects. It is hard to predict what side effects will occur, even when patients get the same treatment. Some effects can be bad and others fairly mild. Some people have a tough time with cancer treatment, but there are also many who manage quite well and are even able to work throughout treatment.
Chemotherapy side effects
Short-term (and often treatable) side effects of chemo can include nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, hair loss, and mouth sores. Because chemo can damage the blood-producing cells of the bone marrow, patients may have low blood cell counts. Low blood counts can cause certain side effects, such as:
• Higher risk of infection (due to a shortage of white blood cells)
• Serious bleeding or bruising after cuts or injuries (due to a shortage of blood platelets)
• Tiredness or fatigue (sometimes due to low red blood cell counts)
For these reasons, cancer care teams carefully watch for and manage chemo side effects. Because everyone's body is a bit different, people notice different effects from chemo. Most of the side effects of chemo will go away after treatment ends. For instance, hair lost during treatment nearly always grows back after treatment. In the meantime, most patients are able to use wigs, scarves, or hats to cover, warm, or protect their heads.
Radiation therapy side effects
Radiation treatments are much like x-rays and are not painful. The most common side effects are skin irritation and severe tiredness (fatigue). Fatigue is especially common when treatments go on for several weeks. It is a feeling of extreme tiredness and low energy, which often does not get better with rest. People also report fatigue caused by the daily trips to the hospital to get their radiation treatments. Many people work throughout the course of their radiation treatments, though it is common for them to adjust their schedules or work fewer hours until they feel better. Sometimes people are not able to keep working during treatment because of the extreme fatigue or other side effects.
Is cancer treatment worse than cancer?
This is a common myth and a dangerous one. People who believe that cancer treatment is worse than cancer itself might not follow through with treatments that can prolong life or even cure their cancer. Often people diagnosed with cancer have never had any symptoms or pain. For others, the symptoms have just started and are not too bad yet. But once the treatment starts, they often begin to feel pretty sick. It is true that chemo, radiation,...

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