For many years chemotherapy and radiation were the best that medical science had to offer for cancer treatment. And these options have saved, or at least prolonged, many lives in the past – and for that we are grateful. However, the medical community now knows the full extent to which chemotherapy and radiation destroy the body: these treatments cause severe damage, both at the time of treatment and leading to health consequences in the future.
Chemotherapy works by attacking all rapidly reproducing stem cells in the body:
Chemotherapy has a bad reputation for terrible side effects, for a good reason. For many people, the experience of undergoing chemo is worse than the cancer itself. The American Cancer Society lists the potential side effects from chemo:
In addition to needing to endure the short-term side effects of chemotherapy – which can last upwards of years – cancer patients who undergo chemo must also deal with long-term ramifications. Moreover, "sometimes the side effects can last a lifetime, such as when chemo causes long-term damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, or reproductive organs."
Delayed side effects, like a recurrence of cancer, can also show up years later. Needless to say, many cancer patients want to do anything they can to avoid undergoing chemotherapy – even if it means a difference of life and death.
Fortunately, in today’s day and age you don’t need to choose chemotherapy to beat cancer: the days of one-size-fits-all cancer treatment are over – at least as far as science and technology are concerned. As Dr. Robert Stein, a consultant at UCL (University College London, UK) and proponent of precision oncology, says, "In every area of cancer treatment we have largely functioned on a one-size-fits-all basis because we didn’t have tools to do any better."
And now we do have the tools. Science has developed targeted chemotherapy and targeted radiation, which are much more effective than standard forms of chemotherapy and radiation. These targeted cancer therapies attack only the cancerous cells in your body, leaving your healthy cells to flourish. Therefore, they offer a more localized treatment and more successful treatment outcomes with fewer and less severe side effects.
While these innovative targeted therapies have yet to be fully integrated into current standard cancer treatment, they do exist, and many cancer patients around the world are benefitting from them. And you could be, too.
You can access these targeted therapies, along with the most advanced diagnostic imaging tools and genetic testing, through precision oncology services like CTOAM. If you or a loved one has received a cancer diagnosis and want to ensure that you are getting the best possible cancer care, please reach out to speak with our cancer care specialists anytime.
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