What is Cancer?
Cancer can arise in any part of the body when particular cells begin to multiply more than normally and spread into other tissues. Cancer arises because of defects within the genes of cancer cells, although the reason for these defects arising in the first place is not known in most cases. If left untreated, cancers cause harmful effects by invading vital tissues.
How Is Cancer Treated?
Many cancers can be cured by surgery, which is called ‘curative surgery’. In some cases, even though the cancer cannot be removed or can be removed only partly, surgery is still very helpful in relieving symptoms, in which case it is called ‘palliative surgery’.
Even if a patient has had ‘curative surgery’ the cancer cells may have already spread in blood vessels to other organs but cannot be seen or felt or diagnosed by investigations. Because of this it is often necessary to recommend additional treatment after curative surgery in the form of chemotherapy (giving drugs which kill cancer cells). This type of additional treatment is called ‘adjuvant therapy’ and helps to increase the chances of being cured properly.
If the cancer cannot be removed by surgery it is often useful to give chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a combination of these to slow down the growth of the cancer. This type of treatment is known as ‘palliative therapy’.
There have been big advances in the use of chemotherapy and radiotherapy so that many of the serious side effects that used to be seen with these treatments do not occur frequently. The use of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for many cancers is being improved all the time by asking patients to participate in ‘clinical trials’. This means that the doctor treating the patient is not sure which type of treatment is best and so will allocate one or other treatment with the patient’s permission.
Inevitably some patients will die from cancer. It is important from the outset that the patient and relatives are both aware of what the situation is and are encouraged to talk freely about this between themselves and with friends. Most patients will be able to lead a normal life right up to the last few days or weeks. Pain and vomiting is a feature of some cancers but there are now very effective drugs to deal with both. No patient should suffer from unbearable pain.
Hospices are specialized hospitals dealing with the needs of patients with advanced cancer. Patients may be attached to a hospice as an outpatient as well as being an inpatient. The most important doctor coordinating cancer care will be the General Practitioner. Many patients choose to spend their last days at home. In some cases, depending on the home circumstances and the patient’s particular problem, this is not possible so the hospice or even the hospital may be the best place.
It is always important to be open about the problem. Doctors involved with patients and their relatives will always be keen to discuss the issues and answer all their questions. Remember that even if it is not possible to guarantee a cure, treatment can prolong life and give patients an excellent quality of life. Also, remember that cancer can be cured!
Looking for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment in Mumbai India?
Liver and Pancreas clinic is owned & managed by Dr.D.R. Kulkarni (HPB surgeon). The out patients are evaluated in his OPD at Lilavati Hospital & Research Center bandra Mumbai. His support team consists of hepatologist,Gl endoscopist, intensive care specialist, intervention radiology specialist and medical oncologist.
For Consultation Available At: Lilavati Hospital And Research Centre, Mumbai, India.
Monday To Friday – 9am To 5pm & Saturday 9am To 2pm (Consultation Only By Appointment)