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Oncology Treatment

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Cancer Treatment

Cancer can be defined and referred to as the uncontrolled growth of human cells and invasion to the other tissues. Cells become cancerous in nature owing to the amassing of defects, or mutations, in their DNA The most common factors that can cause damage to DNA and may lead to cancer are:
• Inherited genetic defects
• Infections
• Environmental factors (viz; air pollution), and
• Poor lifestyle choices such as smoking and heavy alcohol use

Usually, cells are able to perceive and repair DNA damage. But in case, if a cell is severely damaged and cannot repair by itself, it will undergo an asserted programmed cell death known as apoptosis. Cancer occurs when damaged cells grow, divide, and spread abnormally instead of self-destructing as they should normally.

Signs and Symptoms of Cancer

Signs and symptoms of cancer depend on the type of cancer, where it is located, and/or where the cancer cells have spread. However, few patients may not show any signs and symptoms until it is far advanced.

The American Cancer Society describes the most common signs and/or symptoms of cancer which should prompt a person to seek medical attention-

  • Change in bowel or bladder habits
  • Non healing sore throat
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge
  • Thickening or lump in the breast, testicles, or elsewhere
  • Chronic Indigestion and difficulty swallowing
  • Noticeable change in the size, color, shape, or thickness of a wart or mole
  • Nagging cough or hoarseness
  • Unexplained weight-loss
  • Loss of Appetite
  • A new type of pain in the bones or other parts of the body that may be steadily worsening
  • Persistent fatigue, nausea, or vomiting
  • Unexplained low-grade fevers which may be either persistent or come and goad
  • Recurring infections

Types of Cancer

Human body is made up of billions of cells which are so small in size that they are only visible under microscope. There are 5 main types of cancer which are categorized based on the type of cell the cancer starts in.

  • Carcinoma – It is the cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs. It has different subtypes, including adenocarcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and transitional cell carcinoma.
  • Sarcoma – It is the type of cancer that begins in the connective or supportive tissues such as bone, cartilage, fat, muscle or blood vessels.
  • Leukemia – This type of  cancer starts in blood forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes abnormal blood cells to be produced and move into the blood.
  • Lymphoma and myeloma – This type begins in the cells of the immune system.
  • Brain and spinal cord cancers –These are known as central nervous system cancers, that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord.

Staging of Cancer

Staging is a way of describing the size of a cancer and how far it has grown. It is also crucial to decide the treatment regimen for the particular cancer type.

There are 2 main types of staging systems for cancer. These are the TNM system and the number system. 

1. The TNM staging system

TNM stands for Tumor, Node, and Metastasis. This system describes the size of the initial cancer (the primary tumor), whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, and whether it has spread to a different part of the body (metastasis). The system uses letters and numbers to describe the cancer:

  • T : refers to the size of the cancer and how far it has spread into nearby tissue – it can be 1, 2, 3 or 4, with 1 being small and 4 large
  • N : refers to whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes – it can be between 0 (no lymph nodes containing cancer cells) and 3 (lots of lymph nodes containing cancer cells)
  • M : refers to whether the cancer has spread to another part of the body – it can either be 0 (the cancer hasn't spread) or 1 (the cancer has spread)

2. Number staging systems

Most types of cancer have 4 stages, numbered from 1 to 4.
Stage 1: Cancer is relatively small and contained within the organ it started in.
Stage 2: The tumor is larger than in stage 1, but the cancer has not started to spread into the surrounding tissues. Sometimes stage 2 means that cancer cells have spread into lymph nodes close to the tumor. This depends on the particular type of cancer.
Stage 3: The cancer is larger. It may have started to spread into surrounding tissues and there are cancer cells in the lymph nodes in the area.
Stage 4: The cancer has spread from where it started to another body organ. This is also called secondary or metastatic cancer.

Cancer Prevention: Guidelines to reduce your risk

As always, prevention is the best medicine. It is the well accepted fact that your chances of developing cancer are largely affected by the lifestyle choices you make. So if you are concerned about the cancer prevention, then take comfort in the fact that some simple lifestyle modifications can make big difference and you can protect yourself and your family from the risk of developing cancer. Following are the few guidelines for Cancer Prevention.

  • Avoid Tobacco in all its form including exposure to passive smoking.
  • Exercise regularly: Physical activity always counts. It helps you maintain a healthy weight which may lower the risk of various types of cancers including cancers of prostate, breast, lung, colon etc.
  • Eat Healthy: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. A report from the cancer agency of WHO, concluded that eating large amount of processed meat can slightly increase the risk of certain types of cancer.
  • Avoid exposure to radiation: Get medical imaging studies only when you need them. Protect yourself from ultraviolet radiation in sunlight, which increases the risk of melanomas and other skin cancers.
  • Avoid excess alcohol intake: If you choose to drink, limit your intake to one or two drinks a day. The risk of various types of cancers including cancer of the breast, colon, lung, kidney and liver increases with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time you've been drinking regularly.
  • Avoid exposure to industrial and environmental toxins: such as asbestos fibers, benzene, aromatic amines, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
  • Get enough of Vitamin D: Evidence suggests that vitamin D may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer, colon cancer, and other malignancies.

Treatment for Cancer

The cancer treatment in India is based on the type and stage of the cancer. Although patients may receive a unique sequenced treatment, or protocol, for their cancer, most treatments have one or more of the following components:

  • Surgery: Surgery to treat cancer is considered as the golden standard which is performed to remove the cancerous tumor and the surrounding tissue in order to cure the patients when the disease is particularly localized.
  • Chemotherapy: It comprises of specialized drugs that destroy the growing cancer cells. The drug may be injected intravenously or can be taken orally in the form of pills.
  • Radiation therapy: This uses high powered energy beams like X-ray or protons to kill the cancerous cells. It can either be use as a sole treatment or can be combined with the chemotherapy with or without the surgery.
  • Radiosurgery: It is the new innovation which is used in very limited patients where tumors are small but undergoing surgery may prove harmful. In such cases, surgery is done using radiosurgery, in which high doses of radiation that are focused precisely on targeted cells to kill the cancer cells without harming the surrounding healthy tissues.
  • Immunotherapy: In this therapy, the body uses its own immune system to destroy cancer cell. Biological agents like tumor necrosis factors, interleukins monoclonal antibodies and colony stimulating factors are used as special immune system cells to stimulate the body's immune system so as to destroy and kill the cancerous cells.

Oncology treatment in India is done with the intent to either eradicate the cancer or to extend and improve the quality of life of the terminally ill cancer patient. There are many other options for palliative treatments to reduce cancer symptoms such as pain medications and anti-nausea medications.

Cost of Cancer Treatment

India is one of the most affordable places for cancer treatment across the globe. The cost of cancer treatment in India is less than a one sixth of what it costs in Western countries to get the same treatment done.

Top Oncology hospitals is India are equipped with the most advanced technology – including Cyberknife, Stereotactic Radiotherapy, Novalis Tx, Rapid Arc Radiation, Proton Beam Therapy, IGRT, IMRT, Linear Accelerator, Immunotherapy.

Cost of cancer treatment without insurance is extremely high, which prompts people to travel to countries like India for their cancer treatment. For people who are covered by insurance, but find the cost very high, also choose to travel to India for their treatment for the quality cancer treatment at most affordable cost.

Here's a look at the approximate costs of cancer treatment in India:

Sr No Name of Procedure Cost in India (USD)
1 Cancer Evaluation Package 800 - 1200
2 PET Scan 300 - 500
3 Cancer Surgery 3500 - 7000
4 Chemotherapy 1000 - 1500 per cycle
5 Radiation Therapy 3500 - 5500
6 Radiosurgery 5000 - 10000
7 Immunotherapy 1500 - 2500

Why MedicoExperts?

At MedicoExperts, we understand the significance of your health and well-being. Our aim is to provide you the best options and outcomes for your Oncology Treatment in India at our top associate cancer hospitals in India. We understand that while you choose to travel abroad for your Cancer Treatment in India, you would surely look for cost savings and that is why we have special negotiated prices for you and offering you best possible prices for the top quality of facility and services.

We would also provide you end to end assistance for your medical trip to India and shall provide complete solution for your Cancer Treatment - right from assisting you with the visa, hotel arrangements, airport pick up and drop, inland transfers, money exchange or sight-seeing and all other concierge services. We thus assure you hassle-free arrangements for evaluations, surgery, recuperation, stay and travel in India.

For more information and getting a tailor made treatment plan for your oncology treatment in India, please mail us your medical history at enquiry@medicoexperts.com.

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