Cancer is one of the most dreaded medical conditions in the world. In India, there has been a consistent increase in the number of deaths caused by cancer every year. Every two minutes, more than 3 people in India die of cancer. There is no definite cure for the disease yet, and medical experts have been constantly trying to find new and better ways to deal with it. Although we protect ourselves with healthy habits, regular medical checkups and health insurance, there’s no telling what happens when. It is important to know the developments that are happening in the area of cancer treatment and research thanks to the efforts of doctors and scientists.
Cancer occurs in the form of tumours in specific parts of the body. The detection of a cancerous tumour from a non-cancerous one is vital. When a doctor has to check a tumour, they perform a tissue biopsy, in which they examine a sample of the lump under a microscope. This method is problematic because it cannot detect cancer till it has grown and spread. Now, experts are considering liquid biopsies. These are tests in which a patient’s blood is examined for mutated parts of the cell like DNA, RNA and proteins. This way, cancer can be diagnosed much earlier and cancer treatment can begin sooner.
Our immune systems are capable of detecting and killing viruses, bacteria, and cancerous cells. But cancer cells cannot always be detected by your system. This cancer treatment provides a boost to the immune system for fighting cancerous cells. The various immunotherapy treatments available are as follows:
Healthy body cells consist of proteins named checkpoint proteins that separate them from foreign cells. Sometimes, cancer cells use checkpoints to trick the immune system. Checkpoint inhibitors block the checkpoints on cancerous cells and help in treating various kinds of cancer.
Antibodies are fighter proteins that identify the proteins on invading cells of viruses and bacteria called antigens. Monoclonal antibodies are designed to identify antigens on cancer cells and help the immune system fight cancer.
In this cancer treatment, cells are taken from the patient’s blood or tumour, modified to be capable of fighting cancer cells, and put back into the body.
Immune system modulators
They give a boost to the immune system to help in fighting cancer. Examples are interleukins (they help immune cells communicate amongst themselves), and interferons (they activate immune cells which fight cancer)
Cancer cells are taken out of the patient’ s body and used to prepare the vaccine. Once the vaccine is made, it is put back into the body and helps fight the cancer. Clinical trials are being conducted for vaccines against lung, brain, and breast cancers. Finding a cancer vaccine has been difficult, but researchers are still making efforts.
Surgeries are performed to remove cancerous tumours from the body. In this kind of surgery, certain tools and cameras are inserted into the patient’s body. The doctor uses a viewfinder and controls robotic arms which perform the surgery. Robotic arms can reduce blood loss, pain, and hospital stays. They can be used for cancer of the bladder, kidneys, ovaries, prostate, throat and uterus. However, the downside is that these surgeries will be expensive. Cancer treatments are anyway expensive, and to be able to avail such treatments without financial stress, it is important to be prepared in advance and secure your family with health insurance. Check out Bajaj Allianz Family Health Insurance Plan, available on Finserv MARKETS which provides health cover of Rs.1.5 lakh to Rs.50 lakh.
Cancer treatment and research has lately been focused on personalization. The same type of cancer can occur in different genetic types. Studying the mutations in genes can help in diagnosis, prediction of outcome, and deciding which treatment will work better.
Chemotherapy acts on all fast-growing cells, including healthy cells. Targeted treatments tackle genes and proteins that help cancer cells grow without harming healthy cells or any side effects.
New forms of radiation therapy
Radiation therapy kills cancer cells with intense beams of energy. But here, too, healthy cells can get affected. Because of advances in cancer treatment and research, new forms of radiation therapy such as IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy), IGRT (Image Guided Radiation Therapy), SRS (Stereotactic Radiotherapy), and proton therapy are being developed. These methods minimize the damage done to healthy cells.
With novel treatments coming into existence, access to healthcare improving by the minute and curing cancer becoming more of a viable option than ever before, the cost of treatment should be the last thing on your mind. Half the battle against cancer is won if you have comprehensive health insurance, so that you can focus on what truly matters: getting better. To safeguard you and your family against such unexpected hefty treatment costs, you can check out Bajaj Allianz health insurance plans available on Finserv MARKETS. With value added benefits like access to cashless facility at over 6500+ hospitals across the country, free medical check-ups and much more, you can rest assured that you and your loved ones are completely financially secure.
Also read in detail about the health insurance tax benefits you can avail with a Bajaj Allianz Health Insurance plan available on Finserv Markets.
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