The fact that cancer can be cured or not differs from patient to patient. It depends on factors like stage of cancer, type of cancer, and age of the patient. There is no panacea for all types of cancer. The treatment differs and so does the result. With advancements in modern medicine, there have been several beacons of hope in the treatment of cancer with higher remission rates. So, can cancer be cured? Let’s learn about the treatment options so that you can understand the answers to, is there a cure for cancer or not.
1. What is Cancer?
Trillions of cells make up the human body. Everyday cells die and are replaced with new ones through the process of cell division. This process keeps the body working and agile. Sometimes, due to a variety of factors, both internal and external; the normal working of the cell division is thwarted. Damaged cells begin to grow in lumps which cause tumors. Tumors can be cancerous or benign. In case they’re cancerous, these lumps cause even more lumps to occur all over the body. All factors resulted in a condition called cancer.
Below are the important features of the cancer cells.
- Cancer cells act against the brain’s signal of apoptosis.
- These cells evade the brain’s signal and cause several changes in their chromosomes.
- These cells also direct blood vessels towards themselves, thus drawing fresh oxygen and nutrients in themselves and driving out toxic waste.
- Through blood, the cancerous cells also spread into other body parts. (See What Vitamin Deficiency Causes Brain Fog?)
2. What causes Cancer?Image by Colin Behrens from Pixabay
Cancer is known as a genetic disease, i.e. it interferes with the genetic data of the body. Cancer happens when the DNA within cells gets mutated. The mutated cells divide more rapidly than normal cells. Cancer can also spread when the DNA rectifiers of our body leave out small errors in mutated DNA unchecked.
- Sometimes the mutated DNA is present in a person by birth if their family has had a history of cancer patients.
- In others, eternal causes may prompt the said DNA mutations. The factors include smoking, obesity, an unhealthy diet, exposure to carcinogens, etc. (See What Causes Funny Bone Pain?)
Cancer develops throughout decades. It is not restricted to age but is commonly found among the older age group (65+) as their cells lose their ability to correct mutations.
3. Is there a Cure for Cancer? Can Cancer be Cured?
Is there a cure for cancer? No, unlike other diseases, there is no cure for cancer yet. It is because there is still a lot to know about cancer, or can cancer be cured. However, one may take treatments for it as prescribed by medical experts. Even after getting so expensive treatment, one can never guarantee that the cancer cells will not grow back. This is why doctors use the terms treatment or remission for cancer treatment.
- Scientists are still discovering different types of cancers, like not all breast cancers, are the same. The process is exhausting because all cancers are different and each type of cancer needs a different kind of medical attention.
- They are also researching different reasons that cause different types of cancers so that they may invent a drug that can combat a specific type of cancer. Also, check out how do we get sick?
Various types of treatments have been developed that aim to kill tumors and cancer cells. Unfortunately, such strong treatments have strong side effects too. (See Why do we have Eyebrows and Eyelashes?)
4. Will Cancer ever be cured?
Professor Harald Zur Hausen, German Cancer Research, Heidelberg shared his thoughts about curing cancer completely. He said that we may not be able to completely cure cancer as several types of cancer do not have a single cure. However, we do have a chance to drastically reduce cancer occurrences by taking a step towards a healthy lifestyle.
You might wonder can cancer be cured in the long run? Well, day by day, incidences of cancer are increasing, albeit the death rate is reduced. At present, we are aware of 20% of cancer risks. We can eradicate those risks. For example, Hepatitis B was linked to cervical cancer, for which vaccines are available. (See Does Magnesium Citrate Help You Sleep?)
5. Latest Cancer Cure NewsPhoto by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
As per a report by the Times of India, in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a trial was conducted by Dr. Andrea Cercek, Dr. Luis Diaz, Dr. Melissa Lumish, and Dr. Jill Weiss. As a part of the trial, 18 individuals with rectal cancer were administered a drug called Dostarlimab for a period of six months. During this period, none of the patients underwent surgery or chemotherapy. The drug destroyed all tumor cells and thus showed complete remission. Also, check out what is Biomedical Engineering?
6. What are the Easiest Cancers to Cure? What are the Top 7 most Curable Cancers?
Can cancer be cured? No, a sure-shot cure for cancer is not available yet. However, the quicker cancer is detected, the easier it is to be treated. Following the trends of remission and cure rates over the last five years, these are the top 7 most curable cancers viz those with the highest remission rates:
- Hodgkin Lymphoma,
- Prostate cancer,
- Breast cancer,
- Testicular cancer,
- Thyroid cancer, and
- Cervical cancer. (See 9 Diseases Caused by Obesity)
7. Which Cancer is not curable?
There is no complete cure for any type of cancer yet. Cancer is just treated. If the cancer is detected in its early stages, it usually gets remission. If a person does not get cancer after treatment at all, they’re supposed to be cured. But this status of cured is not universal and depends on their health and the type of cancer. (See Why Does Zoloft Cause Weight Gain?)
8. Does Chemotherapy cure cancer?
Chemotherapy is a way to treat cancer in which drugs are administered to kill cancer cells. It does not guarantee a cure because it depends on the stage of cancer, the age of the patient, and the response to chemotherapy also differs from person to person. Can cancer be cured by chemotherapy? Well, there are two possibilities:
- In some cases, chemotherapy kills all the cancer cells, making them undetectable; post this, they may or may not grow back.
- While in other, it may shrink the size of cancer cells, making them ready for surgery or radiotherapy. Must read about the uses of EMDR for anxiety reduction.
9. What are the Cancer Treatment Options?
There is a myriad of cancer treatment options. The primary goals of cancer treatment are:
- To kill all cancer cells and remove them from the patient’s body, or to mitigate their effect.
- To relieve the side effects of treatment of cancer or cancer itself. The side effects include anemia, urinary bladder problems, memory and concentration problems, fatigue, etc. (See Busted! Evaporation Line Myths on a Pregnancy Test)
There are several options for the treatment of cancer. These are intended to kill cancer cells or mitigate their effect. The most common treatments for cancer include:
- Biomarker Testing for Cancer Treatment,
- Hormone Therapy,
- Photodynamic Therapy,
- Radiation Therapy,
- Stem Cell transplant,
- Targeted Therapy,
- Bone marrow transplant,
- Radiofrequency ablation, and
- Clinical trials.
Out of these, clinical trials involve testing drugs on willing cancer patients. Trials help in finding out breakthroughs in cancer treatment. Recently, a trial in England reported 100% remission in renal cancer. Moreover, many people believe that the ancient Indian practice of Yoga might be a possible treatment (if not cure) for cancer. Yoga is used alongside medical treatments for cancer. It helps in the treatment of symptoms of cancer like heart diseases, blood pressure, substance abuse, etc. (See Test To See If You need Glasses)
10. What does the Cancer Treatment cost?Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán
Since we now know the answer to can cancer be cured or not, it will most likely regrow. Thus, cancer continues to be an expensive illness to treat.
On an average, here is the breakdown of all the costs for cancer treatment:
- Diagnostic tests: $12.85-51.41
- Biopsy: $ 25.70-321.28
- Surgery: $ 1285.13- 7710.79
- Radiation therapy: $ 2570.26-28272.88
- Chemotherapy: $ 10281.05
- Immunotherapy: $ 6425.75- 64256.55
- Surgery: $642.57- 6425.65. (See Different Types of BPD)
Post-treatment costs comprise reconstructive surgery or physiotherapy. The prices are approximate costs of cancer treatment, not the exact pricings.
- Follow-up Checks: $ 128.51-192.77 per year
- Chronic maintenance and medication: $ 128.51-192.77 pm
- Rehabilitation- Physiotherapy: $ 128.51-192.77 pm. Also, check out what are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Sexual Reproduction?
11. What is the Difference between Cure and Remission?
In the case of cancer, doctors usually avoid the usage of the word cured because they are still apprehensive while discussing, can cancer be cured or not. If a cancer patient goes through treatment and cancer does not come back as the cells are unlikely to reproduce, they are considered cured. (See When and How do Body Systems Work together?)
Remission means that a person’s cancerous symptoms are gone for the time being; however, it doesn’t guarantee that the person is cured. It could also mean that cancer cells are undetectable. Sometimes, remissions happen partially, which shrinks the size of cancer cells, and their effect gets mitigated. Here, treatment goes on even during remission. This period may last for several years. (Also read How to Call in Sick at Walmart?)