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Cancer Treatments: Common Types Versus New Electric Treatments

by Stephen Silva

Cancer remains a deadly and powerful enemy in the United States. According to an NCI article, 454.8 people per 100,000 people get cancer each year. 171.2 people per 100,000 people die of cancer per year. That's 1.7 people for every thousand people. $125 billion dollars were spent on cancer health care in the United States for 2010. Even though cancer affects so many people, takes so many lives, and costs so much money, doctors, scientists and researchers never stop looking for and trying out new treatments. We will review typical types of cancer treatment along with new treatments that use electricity.

Common Cancer Treatment

Typical examples of cancer treatments are hormone therapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and more recently, immunotherapy. Some types of cancer, like breast cancer, grow more quickly when there is more of a certain hormone, such as estrogen. Using an estrogen blocker to treat breast cancer is an example of hormone therapy. Chemotherapy is the use of certain drugs to kill or slow down cancer cells. Radiation also kills or slows cancer cells. With both chemotherapy and radiation therapy, good cells in the body are also damaged or killed, which leads to unpleasant side effects. Immunotherapy is complicated, but the gist of it is that it's a biological treatment that helps the immune system fight cancer.  

Electricity in Cancer Treatments

Use of electric current or electric fields in cancer treatment is controversial because we're not sure if it's quite as effective as other treatments. However, it can be a great option for some people. An example is alternating electric field therapy, which applies electric fields that slow and kill cancer cells by preventing mitosis (splitting/reproducing of the cells). Since it is an electromagnetic field, it does not hurt to have the procedure done. The only side effect is skin irritation from wearing the sticky electrodes. Right now, alternating electric field therapy is only approved for use for glioblastoma brain tumors. 

Nanoknife Technique 

Another example of electricity is cancer treatment is the patented Nanoknife technique. Patients are put to sleep with anesthesia, and then a needle is put through the skin and into the cancer tumor. Next, a current of electricity is applied, and that destroys the cancer without great risk of damaging other cells. Even though the procedure is like a surgery, no incisions are made, so you will not have a lot of pain after waking up. The Nanoknife technique is much less invasive than surgery that opens you up to remove tumors. Because of the precision, Nanoknife is also safer than using heat waves or radiation to kill the tumors. Nanoknife is just one more example of the way we continue to combat cancer.

Contact a company like ATLAS ONCOLOGY to learn more.