3 Ways Doctors Fight Cancer On A Small Scale
Finding out that you have cancer is frightening enough, before you ever start thinking about what the treatment is going to do to you. Fighting cancer has a reputation for being horrible, painful, and exhausting, but doctors and scientists are working to make it better. One of the ways they do this is by going after cancer the way that it starts—on the cellular level. If you're on the verge of fighting cancer, here are three therapies your doctors might use to fight it, while protecting the rest of your healthy cells.
In the old days, chemotherapy was administered to the entire body. Patients would sit with an IV pumping the fluid into their veins, and it would go everywhere the blood carried it. In some cases, chemotherapy is still administered this way, but this is only when the cancer has spread through the body and that kind of treatment is warranted.
Targeted chemotherapy is a much more common practice these days. This form of chemotherapy limits the treatment to just the area where the cancer is. This is usually done by injecting the treatment directly into the cancer. This allows the chemo to break down the cancer cells, while leaving your healthy cells relatively unscathed.
Immune System Targeting
Another new idea that's becoming more common is immune system targeting. This is the act of using your own immune system to fight your cancer.
Normally, if you get to the point of needing cancer treatment, your immune system has shown that it's not fighting the cancer. This is usually because cancer can mask itself so your immune system doesn't realize it's there.
Immune system targeting injects a dangerous—but inert—virus into the cells of the cancer. Since the immune system recognizes the virus, it begins attacking the cancer and only the cancer.
Lastly, surgery has become smaller, too. Laparoscopic surgeons remove cancers on a much smaller scale, without the need for massive incisions and long recovery times. However, doctors have started to take it one step even further with Nanoknife surgeries.
Contrary to the name, nanoknife cancer surgery does almost no damage to your body at all. Doctors use electrical probes and put them on all sides of the tumor, where electrical currents create enough damage in the cancer cells that they self-destruct. The treatment requires no major incisions and is so easy on the body, it's performed on an outpatient basis.
Fighting cancer doesn't have to destroy the healthy parts of your body. With scientific technology and medical techniques evolving all the time, you can be sure that your doctors will treat you in the least harmful way possible.