This page is dedicated to the medical aspects of our journey. Since we believe fighting cancer is something that should be tackled on all fronts, doctors and medicine have played a significant role. Here, we will reflect on helpful questions to ask and things to consider. Of course, I am not a doctor and I fully recommend checking with your medical practitioner about any and all questions you might have. After all, they are the experts!
Radiation Therapy uses high volumes of radiation to kill tumour DNA. Unfortunately, radiation can also kill healthy cells. Something that we found out during radiation treatment is that, generally, it can’t be done more than once in the same place. It can however, significantly reduce pain, particularity in bone metastases. Unfortunately, there is often a burn like pain associated with radiation treatment that can cause pain flares and be very uncomfortable. CyberKnife radiation can actually target and accurately treat tumours, in the brain, for example, without radiating the entire organ. This can reduce unwanted side affects such as trouble with speech or cognitive delays.
If you are offered chemotherapy make sure to ask your doctor how effective it will be. Sometimes, chemotherapy may only be 40% effective, and in that case, you might choose to pursue other options. Genetic testing, however, can be done to determine which chemotherapy will be most effective in the treatment of your cancer. Another thing to consider is high vs. low dose chemo. While high dose chemo may be considered faster acting and a more aggressive form of treatment, it also affects healthy cells and weakens your immune system. Low dose chemo is an option for patients who want to pursue chemo without breaking down their immune system, but this of course takes time. Low dose chemo might take months to begin acting and the patient might be required to continue chemo for several years.
While surgery can sometimes be an effective option for cancer treatement, I believe this wholly depends on where the tumour is located. Removing the tumour in its entirety may prevent the cancer from returning, however, cutting into a tumour to remove a portion of it, or a tumour located in a tricky spot i.e. around the spine, may cause cancer particles to spread, making the disease worse.