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Does Cancer Have A Cure?

Medikoe HealthTech Expert

Medikoe HealthTech Expert

  80 feet road indira nagar, Bengaluru     May 22, 2019

   8 min     

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Overview

Cancer not only sucks the life out of your bodies but out of your souls and minds. It is a disease that can start about anywhere in the human body that is built up of trillions of cells. 

Cancer occurs when some of the body's cells develop uncontrollably and spread to other parts of your body. These extra cells may develop a mass of tissue called a tumour. Some cancers like leukaemia do not develop a tumour.

What are the causes of cancer?

Cancer is caused by accumulated damage to genes. This may include exposure to the cancer-causing substance or environmental agents. Other causes of cancer include:

  • Lifestyle-related factors such as UV radiation, alcohol, tobacco, or some food-related elements like polyaromatic hydrocarbons and nitrites generated by barbecuing food.

  • Environmental exposures such as fine particulate matter and radon and UV radiation

  • Internal or biological factors such as gender, age, skin type, or inherited genetic defects

  • Occupational risk factors such as carcinogens

  • Bacteria or a virus such as HBV, HCV, EBV, HPV, Helicobacter Pylori.

  • Some drugs such as medicines that cause immune deficiency, certain hormones, and specific antineoplastic agents

What are the types of cancer?

Cancer can be divided into four types based on where it began including:

Leukemias: Leukemia is a type of blood cancer that starts when there is a problem with the production of blood cells. It is the most common type of cancer among children whose age is under 15 years. It generally affects the leukocytes or white blood cells. There are four types of leukaemia which include acute lymphocytic leukaemia, acute myeloid leukaemia, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, and chronic myeloid leukaemia.

Carcinomas: Carcinoma is a kind of cancer that begins in the epithelial tissue of the skin or in the membrane that covers the surface of internal organs such as the kidneys or liver. The most common types of carcinoma cancer include invasive ductal carcinoma, renal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and ductal carcinoma in situ.

LymphomasLymphoma is a kind of cancer that starts in white blood cells or lymphocytes. It usually affects children with the age group 15 to 24 years. There are two main types of Lymphomas, including Hodgkin Lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas.

Sarcomas: Sarcoma is a type of cancer that begins in the connective tissues of the body. It may develop in muscles, fat, joints, cartilage, blood vessels, nerves, bone, lymph vessels, and tendons.

Is there a cure for cancer? 

The cure for cancer means eliminating all the traces of cancer cell from the patient's body permanently. Doctors use the term "cured" when there are no chances of coming back of cancer within five years. Now, there is a difference between cure and remission in the case of cancer. 

  • A cure eliminates all traces of cancer from the body and assures it will not return.

  • Remission implies that there are few to no signs of cancer in the body.

  • Complete remission indicates that there are no detectable signs or symptoms of cancer in the body.

However, cancer can return even after five years of successful treatment as the cancer cells can remain in the body. Hence, it is never truly cured.

Cancer Treatment

There are some treatment methods to prevent and treat various types of cancer.

Even if there is currently no real cancer treatment, the latest advances in medicine and technology help us get closer than ever to cure. There is some advanced treatment to prevent and cure cancer to a certain extent. 

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy or biological therapy is a kind of cancer treatment that helps the immune system fight cancer. The immune system is built of a variety of cells, tissues and organs, which helps your body foreign invaders like fight infections, viruses, parasites and other diseases. However, cancer cells are no foreign invaders; therefore, the immune system may require some help to identify them. There are various ways of providing this help. Immunotherapy is used in the case of lung cancer, skin cancers (particularly melanoma), kidney cancer, bladder cancer, head and neck cancers and lymphoma.

Cancer vaccines

A cancer vaccine is a vaccine that is given to the patient for either treating existing cancer or preventing the further development of cancer. Vaccines that treat existing cancer are recognised as therapeutic cancer vaccines. Sometimes cancer vaccines are "autologous", i.e., they are specific to that patient and are prepared from samples taken from the patient.

Some varieties of cancer, such as cervical cancer and liver cancer, are caused due to viruses such as the oncoviruses. Conventional vaccines against such viruses, like the hepatitis B vaccine and the HPV vaccine, prevent these kinds of cancer. Other cancers are, to some extent, caused due to bacterial infections such as stomach cancer.

Researchers are still working on testing and developing new cancer vaccines to both treat and prevent certain kinds of cancer.

T-cell therapy

T-cells are a sort of immune cell which destroy foreign intruders identified by your immune system. T-cell therapy requires removing these cells from the body and sending them to a lab for examination. The cells which appear the most responsive against cancer cells are then separated and further developed in large quantities. These T-cells are then injected back into your body to fight cancer. 

A specific type of T-cell therapy, known as the CAR T-cell therapy, is used to treat several varieties of cancer, like childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and adult non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Monoclonal antibodies

Antibodies are proteins generated by B cells, another kind of immune cell. They are able to recognise particular targets, termed antigens and bind to them. After an antibody attaches to an antigen, T-cells can detect and eradicate the antigen.

Monoclonal antibody therapy includes producing large volumes of antibodies that recognise antigens that tend to be located on the surfaces of cancer cells. They are then injected into the patient's body, where they can help detect and neutralise cancerous cells.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors

Immune checkpoint inhibitors increase the immune system's response to cancer. The immune system is created to attach to foreign invaders without damaging other cells in your body. Generally, checkpoint molecules present on the surfaces of cells inhibit T cells from invading them. Checkpoint inhibitors help T-cells evade these checkpoints, enabling them to completely combat cancer cells. Immune checkpoint inhibitors are employed to treat a variety of cancers, including skin cancer and lung cancer.

Gene therapy

Gene therapy is a method of treating illness by altering or editing the genes inside the cells of the patient's body. Genes carry the code which creates various kinds of proteins, which in turn influence how cells develop, behave, and interact with each other.

In the event of cancer, genes convert into damaged or defective, leading some cells to spread out of control and develop into a tumour. The aim of cancer gene therapy is to treat disease by replacing or modifying this damaged genetic information with a healthy code.

Gene editing

Gene editing is a method for adding, eliminating or transforming genes. It is also termed genome editing. For treating cancer, a new gene would be injected into cancer cells. This would either cause the cancer cells to prevent them from growing or die off.

Virotherapy

Many kinds of viruses damage their host cell as part of their life cycle, which in a way, makes viruses an engaging potential cancer treatment. Virotherapy is the application of viruses to particularly kill cancer cells.

The viruses employed in virotherapy are known as oncolytic viruses, which are genetically altered to target and replicate in cancer cells.

One such kind of virus, T-VEC (talimogene laherparepvec), is used for the treatment of melanoma skin cancer which can not be removed surgically.

Hormone therapy

Hormones help in regulating many of the body's functions as they are the messengers to the cells and tissues of the body. Hormone Therapy or Hormonal therapy is a treatment that adds, blocks or removes hormones in order to stop or slow down the growth of cancer cells that need the hormones to grow. It is used to treat cancers that use hormones to grow, such as prostate cancer, uterine cancer and breast cancers. Hormonal therapy is also known as hormone manipulation, hormone withdrawal therapy or endocrine therapy.

Nanoparticles

Nanoparticles are promising tools for the treatment of cancer, particularly as a method for delivering drugs to a tumour site. This can help make cancer treatment more effective while reducing side effects. Nanoparticles are very tiny structures, even smaller than cells, and this lets them move throughout the patient's body and interact with various biological molecules and cells.

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Tags:  cancer,cancer treatments,cancer cells,advance treatment for cancer,cure for cancer,Cancer, tumour, leukaemia, lymphoma, cancer treatment, immunotherapy, cancer vaccines, T-cell therapy, gene therapy, skin cancer, lung cancer, gene editing, melanoma, hormone therapy, prostate cancer, uterine cancer, breast cancer

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