Most treatment methods for cancer include chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgical interventions or their combination. However, some new methods have recently been developed that aim to provide a gentler solution for healthy cells, and to eliminate adverse effects often associated with the commonly used cancer treatments. The “novel” methods include proton therapy, biological therapy (immunotherapy), gene therapy, infusion of vitamin C and many other alternative methods.
Chemotherapy is based on the administration of cytostatic (limiting multiplication) and cytotoxic (eliminating) drugs via intravenous injections or infusions, occasionally as tablets, that are given under medical supervision for several minutes or hours in order to slow down the multiplication, and to eliminate rapidly multiplying cells – cancer cells.
Immunotherapy is not a new method of treatment. It first appeared in 1960s; however, it was not as successful as expected. It was rediscovered later on with some new findings in the field of immunology, and the opportunity of using the immune system to fight cancer has risen. Under normal circumstances, the immune system gives no chance to cancer to develop, and so it may significantly contribute to its treatment.
Radiotherapy is one of primary methods of cancer treatment used in up to 60% of all cancers. Unlike chemotherapy which is perceived by many as a “treatment with chemical poison”, radiotherapy inspires not as much fear. It is gentler to the human body and according to statistics (depending on a type of tumour) even more effective – in almost 30% of cases, radiotherapy as the only method of treatment can eliminate cancer. However, it is more often complemented by chemotherapy (due to potential metastases) and performed prior to and after a surgical intervention.