Methods of cancer treatment include surgery, medication and radiotherapy. Depending on the size, location and type of cancer, each of the different approaches may be used in isolation or in conjunction with the others:
- Surgery; is the direct treatment approach that aims to remove the tumour. In many cases, surgery might be the preferable option but close proximity to delicate organs prevents surgical removals. Besides, surgery is usually not an option for elderly patients. Recovery times can be long and, from a cost perspective, surgery is in most cases less desirable than alternative treatments.
- Medication; a key characteristic of cancer cells is their rapid division, which outpaces that of most healthy cells. Cancer medicines try to exploit this feature through the general destruction of fast-dividing cells. The disadvantage is that healthy cells that also divide fast (such as hair cells) are attacked by cancer drugs. These drugs are also highly poisonous, distributed in the whole body through the bloodstream and cancer cells may develop resistance.
- Radiation; it damages the genetic material in cancer cells and destroys their ability to reproduce by using an external source of energy. It is highly effective in the treatment of tumours present in areas which could not be accessed using traditional surgery methods. In contrast to medication treatments such as chemotherapy or hormone treatment, radiotherapy is a local treatment, limiting both desired and undesired effects to the irradiated tissue area.
At Advanced Oncotherapy, we are focused on radiation therapy because:
- Radiation therapy has been used for more than 80 years and it has a successful track-record in curing cancer. It is estimated that of those patients treated in the EU, over 65% of patients will receive some form of radiotherapy, making radiotherapy one of the most important treatment modalities;
- Radiation therapy treatment is non-invasive, can be done without anaesthesia and the patient is usually able to leave the hospital the same day;
- It has significant cost benefits. As a complement to its medical effectiveness, radiotherapy offers clear cost advantages over other treatment methods. The global cost of radiation therapy is estimated at less than 10% of cancer drug costs. The cost of open cancer surgery is 2x that of treating cancer with radiotherapy, while the drugs required for chemotherapy can cost 3-5x as much.