Advanced cancer that cannot be cured can often be treated. The physical symptoms it causes can almost always be controlled. The goal of treatment should be clear at any stage of cancer. You should know if the goal is to cure cancer, slow its growth, and help you live longer, or ease its symptoms. Sometimes this can be confusing because some of the treatments used to cure cancer can also be used to slow its growth or ease symptoms.
Several pharmaceutical investors and corporations continue to research and develop cures for cancer. Below is a summary of the common treatments used for advanced cancer.
Treatment options for advanced cancer depend on where cancer started and how far it has spread. As a general rule, cancer that has spread will require systemic therapy such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy. Systemic therapy is a treatment that is administered orally or administered in the blood to reach cancer cells throughout the body. Still, they may also be needed to help prevent or alleviate certain symptoms.
Some people believe that there is nothing left to do if cancer cannot be cured and therefore discontinue all treatment. However, radiation, chemotherapy (and other medications), surgery, and other treatments can often slow cancer growth and help control symptoms. Also, relieving symptoms such as pain, constipation, upset stomach, and vomiting can help you feel better. You can almost always do something to help maintain or improve your quality of life.
The goal of any cancer care is to provide you with the best quality of life possible. You will want to feel as good as possible for as long as possible. This is a very personal matter. Talk to your team of cancer professionals about what’s important to you. Tell them what you want to be able to continue doing. You have the right to make decisions about your treatment planning.
Some people may want to continue cancer treatments for as long as there is a chance that they will be helpful. Other people may decide that the side effects or other problems caused by aggressive cancer treatments outweigh the possible benefits. Therefore, they may no longer want to undergo this type of treatment. This may be difficult for some of your loved ones to accept, but you have the right to make this decision. It often helps to include loved ones in making these difficult decisions. Either way, you must make the decisions that are the best and most realistic for you and your situation.
Surgery for advanced cancer
Surgery is not often used to treat advanced cancer, although it can be helpful in some cases
Surgery to relieve symptoms and improve your life
Surgery can help you feel better and be more active. It can help you live longer, even if cancer has spread too far to be cured. For example, sometimes cancer can block (block) the intestine. This can cause a lot of pain and can be dangerous if the intestine is completely blocked. Surgery may be done to bypass the obstruction or to put a tube through it so that the intestine can work again. Another option is surgery to allow the intestine to drain out of the abdomen into a bag
Surgery to stop the bleeding
Surgery can be done if the cancer is causing bleeding in the stomach, intestine, or airways. Often, the doctor will first identify the source of the bleeding with an endoscope (a thin, flexible tube with a camera inside). The endoscope can be passed through the mouth or through the rectum. (Medications are administered to the patient to help them sleep while the procedure is performed.) The doctor can stop the bleeding by burning the bleeding vessel and closing it with a tool that goes through the endoscope. If this is not possible, surgery to stop bleeding may be an option.
Another way to find a source of bleeding is by using angiography. For this test, a long, thin tube called a catheter is placed in a large artery (such as the one located in the groin) and is led into the arteries of the intestines or lungs. A dye is placed through the tube that allows the doctor to locate the blood vessel that is bleeding. Substances can often be injected through the catheter to stop bleeding.
Surgery to stop the pain
Sometimes a tumor may be pressing on a nerve, causing pain. Pain can be relieved by killing the nerve by injecting a substance, cutting the nerve, or removing the tumor.
Surgery to prevent or treat broken bones
Cancer that spreads to the bones may be weakening them, causing fractures that tend to heal very poorly. If a bone appears weak in an imaging study, surgery may be done to place a supporting metal rod into it to help prevent a fracture. Most often, this is done on the thigh bone. If the bone is already fractured, surgery can ease pain and help a person become more active.
Surgery to treat cancer that compresses the spinal cord
If a tumor is compressing the spinal cord, this can lead to loss of control and muscle function below the tumor level, and sometimes to paralysis. Surgery may need to be done to remove the tumor and stabilize the bones in the spine so that the person can walk and continue to perform.
Ablation techniques for advanced cancer
Placing a needle or tube directly into a tumor and using heat, cold, or a chemical to destroy it is called ablation. It is most often used for cancer that has spread to the bones or liver, although it can also be used in other areas. It is usually used when only a few tumors are causing problems.
A common type of ablation, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) uses a needle that carries an electric current. The end of the needle is placed inside the tumor. Ultrasound or CT can be used to make sure the needle is in the right place. An electrical current passed through the needle heats the tumor to destroy it. RFA is usually done while the patient is under general anesthesia (fast asleep without pain).
In another type of ablation, the probe that was placed in the tumor is used to freeze it, destroying the cancer cells. Other methods could use alcohol to destroy cells or other ways to heat the tumor (such as laser-induced interstitial thermotherapy).
Radiation therapy for advanced cancer
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. In advanced cancer, radiation therapy is often used to shrink tumors to relieve pain or other symptoms. This is called palliative radiation.
Sometimes a combination of different types of radiation is used.
Radiopharmaceuticals are a group of medicines that contain radioactive materials (such as radio-223 or strontium-89) that have been dissolved in liquids and can be administered through a vein. These travel through the blood and are carried to areas of the bone that contain cancer. The radiation released by the drugs destroys cancer cells and relieves bone pain, but does not cure cancer.
If cancer has spread to many bones, this type of treatment may work better than when using external beam radiation, which only treats a small area.
Other radiopharmaceuticals are not only attracted to the bones but can be used to treat certain types of cancer, even when they have spread to other places. For example, radioactive iodine (I-131) can be used to treat most types of advanced-stage thyroid cancer.
Medications to treat advanced cancer
The following is general information about the types of medications that can be used to treat advanced cancer. For more information about medications to treat your type of cancer, read our information on that specific type of cancer.
With chemotherapy (chemo), drugs are used to kill cancer cells. Medications are usually given intravenously or taken orally. Once the drugs enter the bloodstream, they reach the entire body. This treatment is often helpful for cancer that has spread widely. By reducing the size of cancer, symptoms can be alleviated. Even chemotherapy can prolong the life of some people with advanced cancer.
Hormone therapy drugs block the actions of certain hormones or reduce their production. This treatment is most often used for breast and prostate cancer, although it can also be used for some other cancers.
For example, estrogen is a hormone that causes the growth of many breast cancers. Some medications can lower estrogen levels or block the effect of estrogen on breast cancer cells, which could stop their growth and even cause tumors to shrink. In the same way, male sex hormones (called androgens) cause the growth of most prostate cancers. Medications that lower androgen levels or block their effect can help stop or slow the growth of these cancers.
Immunotherapy boosts the body’s immune system or uses synthetic versions of immune system protein to kill cancer cells. There are many types of immunotherapy that are used to treat patients with advanced cancer.
Medicines to treat cancer that has spread to the bones
Some types of medications may be especially helpful if cancer has spread to the bones.
Clinical trials are carefully controlled research studies conducted with patients who volunteer to participate. If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, start by asking your doctor if clinical trials are conducted in the clinic or hospital where you work. You can also contact our clinical trial compatibility service for a list of clinical trials that meet your medical needs. This service is available by calling 1-800-303-5691.
Clinical trials are one way to access the most advanced cancer care. In some cases, they may be the only way to gain access to newer treatments. It is also the only way for doctors to learn better methods of treating cancer. However, they are not suitable for all people..
Hamza Fazal is a reporter for The Hear UP. After graduating from the University of Abbottabad, Hamza got an internship at the NPR and worked as a reporter and producer. Hamza has also worked as a reporter for the Medium. Hamza covers health and science for The Hear UP.
A Few Things to Check Before Hiring an Electrician
Hiring an Electrician
Many homeowners attempt to do home improvement projects themselves, and the results are often disappointing. However, trying to handle electrical work independently can lead to costly errors and injuries. Discover a few things to check before hiring an electrician to get the job done right and stay within the budget.
When looking for an electrician, the first thing to consider is whether they are properly trained. The electricians should attend a vocational school or other recognized institute to learn how to perform the work correctly. Discuss the training process to find the right team for the job.
Comparing electricians includes reviewing their relevant experience performing similar work. Homeowners should discuss the project scope with potential electricians and determine whether they have experience in that area. Also, ask for recommendations and referrals from previous satisfied customers.
Once homeowners have a list of prospects, check online reviews to narrow down the possibilities based on customer experiences. Often, people discover more about an electrician or other service providers by reading reviews and talking to others. Also, discuss referrals with neighbors, co-workers, friends, and families to determine which services handled the work most efficiently.
Licensed and Insured
Verify your state’s requirement for license and insurance and then ensure the electrician is compliant to protect your most valuable asset. It is often tempting to hire an unlicensed or uninsured electrician to cut costs, but that often adds up to spending more money in the long run. Plus, you could be liable if an accident or injury occurs on your premises, adding even more to the costs.
Verify Credentials and Permits
The first step to verifying an electrician’s expertise is to inquire about licenses and insurance. The next step is to verify these credentials and permits to ensure they are valid and current. A quality electrician will immediately provide documentation for customers to verify.
Talk to Several Electricians
After comparing reviews and verifying credentials, consult with several electricians to find the right one for the project. While all of them might be qualified for the job, homeowners should find an electrician that understands their vision and wants to work with them every step of the way. Take notes during the interviews to review and determine the best candidate for the job.
While qualifications are crucial to getting the job done correctly, homeowners must also stay within their budget to avoid financial stress associated with unexpected surprises. An electrician should provide a precise estimate and include everything to be done to complete the project for homeowners to plan for payment. The goal is to find a qualified electrician that provides all the services needed for the most competitive price.
Look for Outstanding Customer Service
Finally, it helps to work with electricians dedicated to providing the highest level of customer service and that stand behind their work. Inquire about warranties and other guarantees to verify the project will be completed according to specifications. Then choose the electrician who communicates clearly and makes you feel comfortable about their skills.
Hiring an electrician is often critical to getting the job done right and avoiding additional costs related to injuries and errors. Use this checklist to find a qualified electrician that provides outstanding service within your budget.
Khalil ur Rehman is a proud born and raised in Abbottabad. Khalil has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade having contributed to several large publications including the Yahoo News and The Verge. As a journalist for The Hear Up, Khalil covers climate and science news. [email protected]