Cancer Treatment in Bangalore

What is Cancer?

Cancer refers to growth of abnormal cells in the tissue of an organ.  Growth and division of abnormal cells occur at a very fast rate. These abnormal cancer cells invade and destroy healthy body tissue. There are many types of cancer and they can be divided into different groups.

The major types of cancer are:

  • Myeloma and Lymphoma.
  • Germ cell tumor.
  • Embryonic tissue.

Causes of Cancer

Cancer is caused when the DNA inside the cells undergoes alteration (mutation). The DNA has an inbuilt guideline instructing the cell on how to grow and divide. Any disruption to this guideline can result in a cell becoming cancerous.

Mutation of the gene results in a normal cell to,

  • Grow and divide rapidly. As growth and division occur rapidly, many new cells are created having the same mutation.
  • Failure in controlling cell growth. Normal cells automatically stop growing to maintain the right amount of each type of cells. Cancer cells do not have the gene called tumor suppressor gene to instruct them to stop growing. Mutation of the tumor suppressor gene results in cancer cells growing at a fast rate.
  • Inherited gene mutations. You may inherit a mutated gene from your parents.  This type of mutation is responsible only for a small percentage of cancer.
  • Gene mutations that happen after birth. The majority of gene mutations happen after birth. This type of gene mutation is caused by a number of factors like smoking, sedentary lifestyle, viral illness, radiation, cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens), chronic inflammation, etc.

Symptoms of Cancer

General signs and symptoms associated with, but not specific to cancer include:

  • Fatigue
  • Lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin
  • Weight changes, including unintended loss or gain
  • Changes in the skin, such as yellowing, darkening or redness, sores that won't heal, or
  • changes to existing moles
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • Persistent cough
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Persistent indigestion or discomfort after eating
  • Persistent, unexplained muscle or joint pain
  • Persistent, unexplained fevers or night sweats

 Stages of Cancer

Cancer can be divided in four stages,

  • Stage 0: At this stage the cancer is very small and does not spread to other areas in the body. The cancer is at its place of origin. are located at their place from where they have started. At this stage, the cancer is curable by resecting the tumor.
  • Stage I: At this stage the cancer is small and has not spread to the adjacent tissues. Stage I cancers do not spread to other areas in the body or to the lymph nodes.
  • Stage II and III: At these stages, the tumor has grown and is quite large and has also invaded the surrounding tissues. At this stage, the cancer only spreads to the lymph nodes but does not spread to other areas in the body.
  • Stage IV: At this stage, the tumor metastasises, i.e. spreads to other areas in the body. Cancer is not curable at this stage and only symptomatic (palliative) care can be given.

 Cancer Treatment Options

There are a variety of options at the doctor’s disposal to treat cancer. These options are dependent upon stage and type of cancer, location of the tumor, and extent of the cancer. The most common forms of treatment are,

  • Surgery:  The tumor is resected surgically if it is limited to the site of its origin. Lymph nodes and adjacent tissues can also be resected by way of surgery. Surgery can be done via laser or using conventional methods.
  • Radiation Therapy:  This therapy uses ionizing radiation to treat cancer and certain other diseases. The cancer cells and their genetic material are eradicated using ionizing radiation. Once ionizing radiation is given to the area, these cells do not grow any further.
  • Hormone Therapy:  Hormone therapy is used to inhibit or remove hormones in order to restrict growth of cancer cells. Hormonal therapy also known as endocrine therapy is mostly used to treat prostate cancer and breast cancer.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy which is an anti-cancer drug kills the cancer cells by restricting their growth at a particular phase in their life cycles. These drugs are injected into the muscles or veins (intramuscular or intravenous), taken by mouth (oral), or applied on the skin (topical). This is dependent on the effectiveness of the drug and the kind of cancer.  Chemotherapy is given in cycles with periods of rest in between.
  • Biological Therapy (Immunotherapy): This therapy uses the body’s immune system directly or indirectly to work against the cancer. This therapy also minimises the harmful effects of other forms of cancer treatments.
  • Stem cell transplant: Stem cell transplant is also called bone marrow transplant. Bone marrow is a substance within the cavity of bones which produces blood cells from stem cells.

Some alternative medicine options found to be helpful for people with cancer include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Hypnosis
  • Massage
  • Meditation
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Yoga

Cancer Recurrence

Cancer can recur after a period of time even if it is completely cured.  Its growth can occur at the same point where it originally occurred or develop in some other area of the body.

Cancer Treatment Aftercare

Post treatment care is essential for survivors of cancer.  Changes in lifestyle needs to be made following treatment such as smoking and drinking cessation, reducing stress, eating the right type of food, exercise, and so on.  Regular follow up with the doctor is very important.  Aftercare involves regular blood check, self examination and scanning investigations.

Cancer Treatment in India

Treatment for cancer in India is on par with other developed countries of the world in terms of technology, postoperative care, post treatment care, hospitality, etc.  There is no shortage of well equipped hospitals, experienced doctors and well trained medical staff in India and all of this comes at a very low cost compared to the cost of treatment in other developed countries.  India is fast gaining popularity as the destination for cancer treatment around the world.