Modalities or Methods of Cancer Treatment by Ashish Pokharkar

Outpatient Surgery

At Prathmesh Cancer Super Speciality Clinic, Patient Education and involving patients in a Shared Decision Making regarding their treatment are among our core principles. Therefore we consider it our responsibility to equip every patient and their caregiver with information on the possible treatment modalities of cancer and facilitate therapeutic decision making.

SOME OF THE TREATMENT MODALITIES OF CANCER INCLUDE:

1. Surgery
Surgery is often the first line of choice for solid tumors, whenever possible. Surgery may/may not be combined with other modalities. The size, type, location of tumor and factors such as age, comorbid conditions of a patient are key determinant factors in choosing surgery. In some cases where the primary tumor has not metastasized surgery may be considered as curative therapy. Surgical resection of tumors may often be accompanied by removal of adjacent normal tissues, regional lymph nodes or organs, etc (Radical Surgery) At times, surgery may be performed to reduce the burden (Cytoreduction) when removal of the complete tumor is not possible.

Surgery may also be used to relieve symptoms of pain or alleviate symptoms caused due to obstruction to an adjacent organ, duct or vital structures from tumor and improve the quality of life (Palliative Surgery). In the case of some cancers such as head and neck cancer or breast cancer, reconstructive surgery may also be performed after tumor resection surgery. This type of surgery tries to reconstruct and restore the morphology of the body part that may be lost completely or partially during a tumor resection surgery. All patients will undergo a careful pre-operative assessment to determine their eligibility for surgery.

Additionally, procedures using specialized techniques of minimally-invasive surgery and/or image-guided procedures are routinely implemented at Prathmesh Cancer Super Speciality Clinic for cancer. These procedures offer the distinct advantage of quick recovery time, reduced postoperative complications, shorter hospital stay.

2. Radiation therapy
High energy waves such as x-rays, gamma rays or electron beams may be used to destroy or shrink tumor cells. You may be offered radiation therapy prior to or following surgery or chemotherapy. It can also be used for palliation to relieve symptoms of pain caused by tumor lesions that are inoperable. The outcome of radiation therapy is dependent on several factors such as dose, duration, mode of radiation delivered and the properties of the tumor such as its molecular properties, sensitivity to radiation, oxygenation, etc.

In order to minimize side effects and be effective, you will receive radiation therapy in small doses called fractions, spread across weeks. As radiation does not bifurcate between the normal and malignant cells, you may experience side effects depending on the area of irradiation.

At Prathmesh Cancer Super Speciality Clinic, we integrate radiation planning with state of the art technology to deliver effective radiation therapy with an aim to minimize its effects on adjacent healthy cells and improve outcomes. Prathmesh Cancer Super Speciality Clinic is the first hospital to bring the Elekta Versa HD – a groundbreaking piece of technology used in Radiation Therapy – to the state of Maharashtra.

3. Chemotherapy
Also referred to as “Chemo”, uses drugs that destroy or kill cancerous cells. A wide variety of chemotherapeutic drugs are available and may be delivered by various modes (Intravenous, intramuscular, intrathecal, intraperitoneal, etc) depending on individual cancer cases. You may receive chemotherapy in combination with surgery and radiation. Similar to the effects of radiation, chemotherapeutic drugs also affect healthy normal cells. The side effects may vary depending on the type of drug, dose, duration and the nature of cancer, age of the patient, etc. It is important that patients discuss the side effects with their oncologist, as these can be managed effectively during your therapy.

4. Targeted Therapy
Also termed as precision medicine. These molecules are specifically tailored to target tumor cells. This may be used in conjunction with other cancer treatment modalities. It is important to note that, not every patient is a candidate for targeted therapy. Cancers with tumors that express certain targets for this class of drugs can only be treated using this therapy.