are there other ways of treating cancer other than chemotherapy?

are there other ways of treating cancer other than chemotherapy?
i read chicken soup for teenage souls and the stories are based on real incidents. many of the teens have lost parents who had cancer. i feel chemo is not a solution for cancer because u only suffer thru the whole process, lose hair and keep throwing up. And it is terrible to see the patient suffer. and it is not that the cancer gets eradicted. my frnd's sister died of leukemia 2 years ago. She had a bone marrow transplant . The cancer went away but after 2 months it returned and she was in worse shape. She died a painful death. and it was heart breaking to see my frnd during those tough times. So i'd like to know if there are other ways to cure malignant tumours.

This is difficult to answer as each cancer has to be treated differently. A diagnose of cancer is not a death sentence, automatically. Some time surgery can correct or halt the growth. Sometimes radiation ( a special xray type) can cure it.
A malignancy in the head means that the cancer has traveled from some place else, meaning there was a primary site some where else in the body. I do have to say sometimes it seems like the treatment is worse that the cure. Oncologist are the Doctors who specialize in cancer and blood disorders. Cancers are so terrible as it takes a Poison into the body to kill the bad cells, of course often times they kill the good cells also. Hope this helps honey.

- gangadharan_nair
Cancer can be treated by surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, monoclonal antibody therapy or other methods. The choice of therapy depends upon the location and grade of the tumor and the stage of the disease, as well as the general state of the patient (performance status). A number of experimental cancer treatments are also under development.
Complete removal of the cancer without damage to the rest of the body is the goal of treatment. Sometimes this can be accomplished by surgery, but the propensity of cancers to invade adjacent tissue or to spread to distant sites by microscopic metastasis often limits its effectiveness. The effectiveness of chemotherapy is often limited by toxicity to other tissues in the body. Radiation can also cause damage to normal tissue.
Because "cancer" refers to a class of diseases, it is unlikely that there will ever be a single "cure for cancer" any more than there will be a single treatment for all infectious diseases.
Please see the web pages for more details on Cancer.

- Panda
Chemotherapy is only one modality or one part of treatment. The reasoning behind chemotherapy is that it is systemic, which means it is given through an IV directly into the blood stream. The goal is to kill any microscopic malignant cells that you cannot see . .the ones that have broken off from the larger tumors and are now spreading through the body . . this is called metastatic cancer. Metastatic cancer can travel through the blood stream and the lymphatic system and set up whole new cancers anywhere within the body. This is what makes cancer deadly, the spread and than the inability to locate and find metastatic disease before it invades other organs. Chemotherapy targets those malignant cells (which can measure in the hundreds and thousands, if not millions of malignant cells in the body). Without chemotherapy a patient with stage IV disease has little chance to survive after those hundreds of cells begin to grow. In the past the body was so quickly overwhelmed that few patients lived past a few months. Today there are hundreds of different types of chemotherapy . . and depending on the type of tumor and the stage of disease the chemotherapy will be different. Some chemo is extremely toxic to kill off aggessive and relentless disease . .however there is no guarantee that the chemo will work for each individual. So different combinations are used in hopes of stopping the spread of cancer. There is no cure for cancer . . so it is always, always a chance.

Early stages of cancer can sometimes be treated with just surgery and radiation . but than no one knows if a few malignant cells escaped detection or not. Systemic chemotherapy has a chance of eliminating cancer that you cannot find . . but it doesn't always get where it needs to go . .which is why some people fail with the chemo. Chemotherapy is always a chance. But, used with surgery, radiation, and other types of treatment a patient has the best chance of surviving.

I'm sorry about your friend. Research at the moment is concentrating on finding chemo drugs that are effective and less toxic in the long run to the human body. There have been some success in some cancers . . enough that some cancers are being treated as a chronic disease where a person will take medication to control the cancer. (Much the way that diabetics take insulin to control their disease).

And, I must tell you that you are wrong about chemotherapy. My son was 17 at diagnosis and had tumors the size of volley balls scattered within the abdomen. He had five high dose chemotherapy drugs for over nine months. He was not expected to survive even the first month . . but he did . . he responded significantly to chemotherapy and his tumors shrunk 75 percent in the first three months. This was enough to allow him to become a candidate for surgery. He is still fighting over two years later . . and I can assure you that chemotherapy has played a HUGE part in him still being with us. Chemotherapy is not perfect, nor is the whole solution, but it does stem the spread of disease, it does shrink tumors, and it can bring cancer under control. The best treatment however, still is complete surgical removal when possible. But chemotherapy has its place too.

- TweetyBird
My friend, you got two very good answers to your question but, please, read on.

For some, chemo IS the solution. There's no automatic guarantee that there will be hair loss, suffering or vomiting. These side effects don't happen to everyone who chooses chemo and they don't happen with every round of chemo. You used your friend's sister death as support for your statement that cancer doesn't get "eradicated". The young woman had a BMT which, as you know, is not chemo.

Friend, I've had a similar experience to yours when a friend's brother went through BMT and died anyway. My father died of cancer. An uncle died of cancer. Some of my patients die of cancer. No one HAS to have chemo. Every person in this country has the right to refuse treatment. But if chemo is agreed to, they are thoroughly drilled on what they may expect. Even then, a person can change his or her mind and at any time during treatment.

I, too, would like to see no more pain and suffering but until that day, let us use whatever means we have at hand.

P.S. There is also "seeding" for certain types of cancer.

- charlie
No there is no other treatment once the cancer has progressed or spread thru the body. I wish there was, then my Mum who died 4 weeks ago would still be here. There is still not enough knowledge about cancer or its treatment.

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