Written By Simon Morris / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Cancer has been around since ancient times, plaguing mankind as far back as 3000 B.C., with the oldest description of this disease appearing in Ancient Egyptian papyri. Tremendous progress has been made since, with new technologies resulting in some amazing discoveries in the field of cancer diagnosis and treatment.
In this article, we’ll be looking at five of the latest innovations in cancer therapy.
Computed tomography for lung cancer screening
Developing lung cancer is one of the common concerns among former smokers. However, the small nodules - that could potentially be cancerous - were impossible to be picked up by the X-rays, often leading radiologists to miss lung cancer, and therefore, fail to diagnose and provide the patient with the care they need.
As computed tomography (CT) evolved, it’s become more effective in lowering the lung cancer mortality rate, cutting it back by almost 20 percent. Going for a lung cancer screening nowadays provides the doctors with 3D images of the entire chest, which they can then examine for nodules.
This helps them determine whether these nodules are, in fact, cancer, or maybe just inflammation or scar tissue.
In recent years, the development of AI has further improved the accuracy of the CT screening results. Today, relying on the AI algorithm can help with correct identification of malignant growth in scans while also reducing the risk of over- or under-diagnosis due to false positives or false negatives obtained from a CT screening.
Intraoperative radiation therapy for breast cancer
In the case of early-stage breast cancer, undergoing a surgical procedure called a lumpectomy is a common practice. During this procedure, cancer from the breast is removed along with some healthy tissue surrounding the tumor.
Because the procedure aims to remove all cancer cells, it’s either followed by another surgical procedure or several radiation treatments. This is done in order to remove all the remaining microscopic cells that may have been left behind.
Since postoperative radiation treatments usually require daily hospital visits for a couple of weeks, breast cancer patients nowadays are being offered an alternative option. It’s called intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) and involves the administration of a single dose of radiation immediately after the surgery (lumpectomy).
It is important to note that this therapy is only recommended to women with early-stage breast cancer who have undergone a lumpectomy.
Furthermore, there are certain criteria that women have to meet in order to receive IORT, including age, the cancer size and type, and whether there is one or multiple tumors.
Immunotherapy for cancer treatment and management
For years, the doctors have been applying numerous treatment methods to treat cancer patients, from radiation therapy to chemotherapy to surgeries and vaccines, often combining the methods to yield better results. It wasn’t until recently that a new weapon in the battle against cancer was discovered.
This relatively new type of cancer treatment called immunotherapy relies on the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells by training it to attack malignant cells and using drugs to boost the immune response. What’s more, new research on plasmacytoid dendritic cells that deals with exploring the anti-tumor activities of this rare immune cell type has brought hope to cancer patients, sparking public’s interest in immunotherapy even more.
Compared to traditional cancer treatments, immunotherapy comes with fewer side effects. It may not work for everyone, but by using CT and AI algorithms, doctors can distinguish between patients suitable for immunotherapy and those in need of alternative treatment, allowing patients to receive necessary care quicker than usual.
Using AI to personalize cancer treatment plans
Another innovation in cancer therapy that involves using AI has to do with personalizing cancer treatments. By combining the health history of a patient and medical records with CT scans, the AI model allows modern clinics to create treatment programs that are customized for each cancer patient.
When provided with the right information, the AI model is able to assess the potential response of a patient to a certain treatment, helping both the doctors and the patients. The doctors are able to come up with the right radiation dose for the patient, resulting in the patients being treated effectively, thus shortening the length of their hospital stay.
Precision cancer medicine
When it comes to treating cancer effectively, it’s important to note that different patients require different levels of care. Instead of taking the one-size-fits-all approach to cancer treatment, precision medicine is all about individualizing the treatment to suit the patients.
The patients’ genetic makeup, health history, test results, as well as lifestyle and environment are some of the factors involved in creating the most effective cancer treatment. As the technology progresses, more tools are being used to ease the process, and they’re becoming more and more advanced, making it easier for oncologists to derive genetic information from genomic sequencing and appropriately apply targeted therapies.
The numerous cancer therapy innovations have made it possible for doctors to improve the quality of life of their patients, increase survival rates, and individualize their treatments. These innovations have also opened the doors to a number of therapy options to cancer patients and made it easier to detect and prevent certain conditions.
While cancer continues to be one of the deadliest diseases, with effective methods, technological tools, and treatments at our disposal, we can expect cancer care, diagnosis, and treatment to become even more effective.
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Simon Morris is a freelance content writer and health consultant. Currently, he works as a health and lifestyle freelance writer with many firms.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.