In India, an estimated 8.8 lakh cancer related deaths are expected by 2020. These numbers are terrifying, and therefore it is important for us to learn about the little things in our everyday life that can be possible causes of cancer. However, for a cancer patient, the most tricky part is to recognize the symptoms of the disease and take immediate steps to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body.
Cancer is treated differently at different stages, depending on the type of cancer affecting our body, such as – lung cancer treatment, blood cancer treatment, breast cancer treatment, stomach cancer treatment, etc. There are some commonly practiced treatments, as well as new alternative cancer treatments. That said, the cost for each type of cancer treatment is quite high, adding significant financial burden to the patient and the family. Therefore it is important for patients and families to understand the health, as well as financial implication before taking a decision on the treatment.
More commonly known as ‘chemo’, it is the use of drugs to treat or kill cancer cells that have already spread in a person’s body. While radiation and surgery can affect cancerous cells only in a certain part, chemo medication has its effects on the entire body. It is often used as palliative treatment, when cancer is in its advanced stages, with the goal to reduce pain or improve the patient’s quality of life.
Radiation is that one word which is most commonly associated with cancer treatment. It uses high-energy x-rays, gamma rays, beams, or protons to damage or destroy cancer cells, and prevent them from multiplying or spreading to other parts of the body. Radiation comes with some side effects, because the rays may also affect other cells in our body. Side effects include fatigue, nausea, hair loss, skin problems, appetite loss, etc.
Targeted therapy is a relatively new technique that uses drugs to attack only cancer affected cells. It is similar to radiation, but has different side-effects because it is more specific in it’s target.
Immunotherapy uses one’s own body and immune system to fight cancer. Certain proteins are given to patients, to stimulate their immune system to work harder in order to fight the cancerous cells. In most cases, it is used in a combination with another treatment.
Usually when cancer is found in only one part of a person’s body, it can be removed with one or more surgeries by cutting out the cancerous part, and preventing it from growing and spreading. This technique won’t be efficient if a person has cancer spread in other parts of the body, therefore it might have to be done in combination with another treatment.
These cancer treatments as well as the alternative cancer treatments have their positives and negatives, which your doctor can explain best. But the real problem arises when a person already affected by the disease can’t access proper cancer cure and treatments due to financial constraints. Each of these cancer treatments have a draining effect on the financial position of the sufferer.
Regardless of mediclaims, insurances, or medical loans, majority of the Indian population affected by the disease is not in a position of afford even basic treatment for cancer, such as chemotherapy and radiation, let alone surgeries – which would completely deplete a person’s financial savings, even if they have been saving for years. In these situations, people need to look at available alternative cancer treatment or different ways to raise funds for cancer cure, such as crowdfunding, to help them pay for treatment.
By starting a crowdfunding campaign, a patient can mobilize people who are compassionate to help, and request them to donate towards a treatment fund. So if you, or anyone you know has cancer, don’t let them fight alone.