How cancer is diagnosed?
In case of suspicion of any disease, the doctor first asks for symptoms and performs a general examination. When cancer is suspected, in addition to these general and very important methods, the doctor can do more:
- Complete blood samples and tests - Most cancers affect blood counts. Today, there are various blood markers and tests, specific for certain malignant processes.
- Imaging research - X-ray, ultrasound or highly specific methods such as traffic police scanning, MRI or PET. They help to accurately locate the process and aid in biopsy.
- Biopsy - by means of various surgical methods a small piece of tissue is taken from the suspicious area and examined under a microscope for the presence of cancerous changes. In most cases, this is the only sure way to diagnose or rule out cancer.
How to treat cancer?
Kind therapy, which will be used to treat cancer depends very much on the location of the disease, the spread of the process, age, general health and many other factors. In short, treatment involves one or a combination of the following methods:
Surgical treatment - a type of local therapy, which consists of surgical removal of the tumor, together with part of the surrounding tissue. Sometimes a larger volume of surgery is required, which involves removing healthy areas, as well as lymph nodes in which the process may have metastasized.
Radiation therapy – also a local method, in which high-energy X-rays are used, to destroy the tumor and reduce the number of cancer cells in a pre-specified area. The source of radioactive radiation can be both external, both internal, in the form of a small container, placed near the tumor. This type of therapy is painless, but may be associated with side effects from damage to surrounding healthy tissues.
Chemotherapy - part of the so-called systemic therapy, in which various chemical substances are used to destroy and shrink the tumor and possible metastases. These drugs are infused directly into the bloodstream or given in pill form. Because along with cancer, normal cells are also damaged, this type of therapy is associated with some side effects. They depend mainly on the type and dose of the drug and may include nausea, vomiting, weakness, hair loss, various infections. These effects are reversible and usually disappear quickly after treatment.
Hormone therapy - systemic therapy, which uses the dependence of certain cancers on certain hormones for its growth and development. By blocking the cancer receptors for a hormone or reducing its amount in the body, the malignant process is limited.
Immunotherapy - type of systemic biological therapy, which stimulates the body's own defenses to fight cancer. This is a method, which uses the existing natural anti-cancer substances in the body and is increasingly established in the general approach to the treatment of malignant diseases.