Cancer treatment in Iran as a chronic disease not fatal
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world today. After cardiovascular diseases, cancer is the second most common cause of death in developed countries and the third leading cause of death in underdeveloped countries. Cancer Mortality rate is more than some fatal diseases like tuberculosis, AIDS, and malaria. If no preventive strategies are taken in the next five years, we will see more than 4 million deaths worldwide. At the time being cancer accounts for 4% of all deaths worldwide. Treatment of cancer is one of the most important concerns of people worldwide including Iran. Quality of treatment is an important challenge for patients.
What is cancer?
Cancer refers to the abnormal and uncontrollable growth and division of cells which tend to spread (metastasize) into surrounding tissues. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form needing new cells. If cells become damaged or old, they will die, and new cells take their place.
When cancer develops, however, this orderly process breaks down. As cells become more and more abnormal, old or damaged cells survive when they should die, and new cells form when they are not needed. These extra cells can divide without stopping and may form tumors.
If the mentioned process breaks down, old or damaged cells survive, and form new cells that are not needed. These extra cells continue to divide and create cancerous tumors.
Cancer treatment in Iran
There is the great hope for cancer patients to have great treatment in different aspects of medical oncology, radiation and cancer surgery in Iran. Quality of cancer treatment of patients in Iran is high and has a good score in comparison with developed countries so in Iran cancer is recognized as a chronic disease, not a fatal one.
Cancers are divided into two types of solid tumors (SOLIDs) and blood cancers or malignancies of bone marrow (blood origin): Cancer cells grow in acquired cells, and what is inherited is men are more than women, but cancers are specific in terms of incidence and prevalence between males and females.
Most common solid cancers in women is breast and in men is prostate and lung.
Tumor cancers are mainly treated by surgical, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and the use of targeted and immunotherapy treatments.
In general, some cancers occur on the same basis in men and women, and others are very different.
Survival of cancer
The survival rate of cancer treatment varies in the treatment outlook. Some cancers are treated with the intention of definitive or complete healing, some with the intention of extending the lifespan of patients, and others with the aim of improving the symptoms or improving the quality of life of patients. The treatment modalities depending on the sex and the stage of the disease and also the state of activity of the organs and systems of the patient may differ.
There are cancers that affect the production and function of blood cells. These cancers start in the origin of blood. They often show anemia, decrease in platelet count and decrease or increase in white blood cell count. Occasionally, patients are diagnosed with symptoms of these disorders and may be detected as a cancer patient as a result of blood checkups.
Types of cancer treatment
There are various types of cancer treatments for different cancers. Depending on the type, severity, and the stage of cancer, special treatment is used. These treatments include chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, hormone therapy, and stem cell therapy. In order to get the most desired result, some patients may need a combination of these treatments. Chemotherapy is the most common cancer treatment in Iran.
Chemotherapy refers to a treatment that uses drugs which destroy or inhibit the growth and division of malignant cells. Depending on the type and stage of the cancer chemotherapy may be given by mouth, injection, or infusion, or on the skin.
Surgery is often performed to remove malignant tumors. In this technique, the exact size of the tumor and the extent of spread and invasion into other tissues or lymph nodes is determined. Surgery is often associated with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.
debulking surgery is performed in the case of possibility of damage to critical organs or tissues. This method removes the tumor as much of as possible.
Besides, in the cases of advanced cancer palliative surgery is suggested to reduce the effects (such as, pain or discomfort) of a cancerous tumor. Although these two surgeries are not curative, but they try to minimize the effects of the cancer.
Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses beams of intense energy to destroy cancer cells. Radiotherapy often uses X-rays.
There are two kind of radiotherapy: internal radiation therapy and external radiation therapy. During external radiation, the high-energy beams come from a machine outside of your body that aims the beams at a precise point on your body.
Internal radiation therapy is a treatment in which the source of radiation is located inside the body, while in external radiation therapy, the beam comes from a machine that aims cancer cells.
The type of radiation therapy depends on the factors such as age, the type of cancer, the size of the tumor, the tumor’s location in the body, general health and medical history of patient.
Immunotherapy is a kind of treatment stimulating the immune system, help the body to battle cancer, infection, and other diseases. Immunotherapy includes cytokines, vaccines, bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), and some monoclonal antibodies.
Targeted therapy known as drugs molecularly targeted therapy refers to a treatment that drugs are applied to target specific molecules. Through destroying cancer cells directly, the growth and spread of cancer are blocked. Moreover, it makes other therapies such as chemotherapy more effective.
Targeted therapy uses different types of drugs. Depending on what molecule (protein or gene) is targeted by drug, they have different operation. A treatment is performed based on the types of molecules made by a patient’s tumor. Some of the targeted cancer drugs target specific proteins in cancer cells that aren’t exist in normal cells. Other drugs target mutated proteins or mutated genes in cancer cells. This treatment requires information of patient’s genes and proteins to prevent, diagnose and treat the cancer.
So targeted therapy oncologists can tailor cancer treatment for each patient and it’s an important part of personalized medicine.
Hormonal therapy known as hormone withdrawal therapy, hormone manipulation or endocrine therapy is a kind of treatment that adds, blocks or removes hormones to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells.
It may be used before surgery to reduce the size of tumor and make its removal easier. Also, before radiation therapy it shrinks the tumor so beams can be given to a smaller area.
Hormonal therapy changes hormone levels in the body by removing the gland or organ that makes the hormone and destroying hormone-producing cells.
Stem cell therapy
Stem cell therapy, refers to a regenerative medicine that strive to reconstruct, dysfunctional, injured or diseased tissue using stem cells or their derivatives.
Scientists grow stem cells in a lab. These stem cells are manipulated to specialize into specific types of cells, such as nerve cells, heart muscle cells or blood cells.
The specialized cells can then be implanted into a patient. For example, if the person has leukemia, the cells could be injected into him/her blood. The healthy transplanted cells could then contribute to repairing defective organ.
It’s notable that these therapies may be used alone as the main treatment or with other treatments as complementary treatment.
Exon as a professional and reliable facilitator in Iran strive to help you. Exon provides you the best, most reputable and board-certified oncologists in the field of cancer treatment as well as the friendly manner staff. We try to improve and restore your health.
Here, in Exon psycho-oncologists also respond to the psychological needs of cancerous patients involved in all stages of diagnosis and treatment.
Published by: Exon Medical Department
Date: 10/30/20192019 October 30