Has Modern Medicine Found Cure for Cancer?
Cancer has been one of the most dreaded diseases in the world up to this day. It is known to be lethal, and is a very serious kind of disease that is hard to treat. A recent estimate from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) stated that around 1,735,350 new cases of cancer is going to be diagnosed in the U.S. and around 609,640 people are likely to die from the disease.
Cancer is known as an uncontrollable division of abnormal cells. These cells may start to grow and form a mass called a tumor. Tumors can either be benign or malignant. Benign tumors are the ones that could grow but will not spread to other tissues in the body; while malignant tumors are also called cancerous tumors. These are likely to spread on other parts of the body.
Types of Cancer
There are over 200 types of cancer that has already been recorded. Although most of them involves the growth of malignant tumors, there are also some types that do not involve tumor growth. These includes leukemia – cancer of the blood; lymphoma – cancer in the lymphatic system; and myeloma – cancer of the plasma cells inside the bone marrow.
Some of the most commonly diagnosed cancers, primarily in the U.S. are the following:
- Breast cancer
- Colon and Rectal cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Liver cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Non-melanoma Skin cancer
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Can Cancer be Cured?
Throughout the years, the cure for cancer has been on the top priority of many medical institutes and researchers. It is worth noting that some cancers still can’t be cured and could return, but treatments could keep them under control for some years. Although there has been no ‘cure’ formulated for all the types of cancer, a number of treatments have been developed to aid them. Among the most common treatments for cancer are chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and hormonal therapy for breast and prostate cancers.
The Hope from Modern Medicine
Cancer treatments depend on what type of cancer a person has and on what stage it is. Some undergo into a combination of treatments and oftentimes they are aggressive and have a lot of undesirable side effects.
However, there are new recent medical treatments that are slowly emerging to help aid cancer. These treatments aim to be more efficient and to have less side effects. It also targets to minimize recurrence of tumors and to eliminate those resilient types of cancers.
Here are some of the newly found cancer research developments that brings us hope that more medical advances, efficient prevention and the world’s sought after ‘cure’ will soon be found.
Vaccines and Therapeutic Viruses
Researchers from United Kingdom has discovered a new means to battle cancer in the form of therapeutic viruses. This treatment is targeted towards aggressive brain tumors by injecting them into the blood stream. Researchers have used a reovirus to eliminate brain cancer cells without affecting the other cells. The said virus has also helped the immune system to find and counter the cancer cells.
The nanoparticle treatment uses nanoparticles (which are microscopic particles) to induce drugs directly to the tumors which will then target all the present micro tumors in a precise and efficient manner. These particles aim to target the cancer cells without damaging the healthy cells around it.
The nanoparticles work by giving off hot temperatures, also known as hyperthermic treatment, to minimize the size of malignant tumors.
Another strategy developed by researchers is tumor starvation. Basically, it works by depriving or ‘straving‘ the cancerous tumors with all of its needed nutrients to develop. Scientists say that this could be a solution to those strong and destructive cancer cells which are resistant to the traditional cancer treatments. Studies searched for methods to stop the production of glutamine, an amino acid that feeds cancer cells, particularly lung, colon and breast cancers.
Epigenetics is known as the study of the long-term changes in a gene expression which are not brought by changes to the DNA. These changes may or may not be heritable. Epigenetic therapy works by ‘turning on ‘the genes which were turned off by epigenetics. Scientists believe that this treatment could prevent the occurrence of cancer someday.