How to deal with an advanced cancer?
The term ‘advanced cancer’ is widely used by doctors or researchers to mention seriousness of the disease. It is a term used to describe cancer that is unlikely to be cured. However they may not indicate the exact meaning when referring to the same word ‘advanced’. Mostly the word 'advanced' signifies the complex stage of the disease where complete healing is not possible. This means cancer that cannot be removed totally by any type of the treatment.
Understanding Advanced Cancer
This may be primary or secondary cancer. Primary cancer refers to the first mass of cancer cells (tumour) in an organ or tissue. The tumour is confined to its original site, such as the bowel. For some people, the cancer may already be advanced when they first learn that they have the disease. For others, the cancer may not become advanced until years after it was first diagnosed.
Advanced cancer can be locally advanced or metastatic
Bone metastasis is cancer that has started somewhere and spread to the bone. Cancers that have spread are often considered advanced when they can’t be cured or controlled with treatment. But not all advanced cancers are metastatic. For example testicular cancer, can spread to other parts of the body and still be very curable.
Locally advanced cancer indicates cancer which started and increased in one part of the body and yet not spread to distant other parts. For example, locally advanced pancreatic cancer is often not curable. But other locally advanced cances such as prostate cancer, may be cured.
Although medical treatments cannot cure advanced cancer, some treatments may still be able to slow its growth or spread, sometimes for months or even years.
Possible treatment to deal with advanced cancer:
- Shrink the cancer
- Slow its growth
- Help relieve symptoms
- Help to live longer
Coping with Advanced Cancer
Combating the situation becomes very difficult when a person has advanced cancer (which refers to late-stage cancer) or the cancer that cannot be treated.
Palliative care can also help manage cancer symptoms, which may include pain, and can reduce side effects from cancer treatments. At any stage of advanced cancer, a range of other palliative care services can enhance quality of life.
Emotional support from family and friends can do wonders in the patient’s life suffering from an advanced cancer. Hope to live and celebrate life brings inner strength to fight against cancer and a healthy lifestyle can improve life span.