Thursday, 28 October 2010
CASE 131 - The endless profit of cancer treatment
Why cure a disease like cancer when you can forever treat it and profit from treating it
There is of course no simple answer to the question of progress against cancer. The word cancer applies to some 200 diseases characterized by uncontrolled cell growth. Today, a diagnosis of cancer is not the automatic death sentence that many saw it to be at the time of Nixon’s signing. Some 10 million Americans, in fact, are living with cancer. In addition, the death rates from lung cancer — the biggest killer of all — have been dropping in men and have leveled off in women. That is due almost entirely to changes in smoking patterns that occurred decades ago. The treatments that the lung cancer specialists here apply have little effect. In fact, one of the news announcements from this conference was that the drug Erbitux, which sells for about $17,000 a month, prolonged survival in lung cancer patients by an average of one month. There have been small, but steady declines in other major killer cancers such as breast, colon, and prostate. Those have to do with better methods of early detection and treatment. But when looking at the overall picture there has been shockingly little progress. In the United States between 1950 and 2005 (the last year for which data are available) the death rate from cancer declined by 5 percent, an amount that is mostly due to the decline in cigarette smoking. By contrast the death rate from heart disease fell in the same period by 64 percent!
As the population ages, more people will die of both cancer and heart disease so these figures from the American Cancer Society are adjusted to account for the aging population.
If so many more doctors are treating cancer with so many more expensive drugs why are they not doing better?
Basic research has revealed how similar cancer cells are to normal cells. That similarity makes it enormously difficult to eliminate cancer without destroying normal tissue.
There is no question that the $5 billion the US government and 1.8 Billion in the UK spends on cancer research is a good investment and should be increased. Indeed, adjusted for inflation it has been falling dramatically in recent years. In order to truly confront cancer, scientists need to understand far more about its basic biology.
Some cancer activists and politicians are starting to talk about a second war on cancer, or an immense, ongoing government-backed effort like the Apollo space program. If there is such a program, it would be very useful to have a discussion on how much we spend on basic research and prevention, compared to how much we spend on marginally useful treatments.
Like so many other conflicts, the "War on Cancer" does not have a clear outcome. But there is no question many have found it financially profitable.
According to cancer research, about 60% of humans in the world develop cancer in their life. Some of the cancer cells can grow and metastasize until upset normal bodily functions. It becomes one of the most frequent causes of human death. Different types of cancer might induce varies of death rate. Usually, lung and pancreatic cancer are the worst! These two kinds of cancer will cause the death within a year. However, not all cancers are untreatable. There are 5 common ways to treat cancer and 100's of suppressed and hidden ways for free. Often, the objective of treatment is to cure the cancer. In other cases, the goal is to control the cancer disease or to reduce the symptoms. Because treatment for cancer can also damage healthy cells and tissues, it often causes side effects.
Surgery is one of the cancer treatment methods that remove cancer by operation. This is the most common way to treat cancer. It is very rare that the cancer will spread the disease during the surgery. The cancer does not cause disease to be spread by exposing to the air.
a) Terrible pain
b) Tired and weak
Radiotherapy is a treatment that uses a radiation ray to kill cancer cells in a infected area. It can be done externally by a machine that aims the radiation at the targeted area. I can also be done internally by using needles, seeds, wires, and so on. The advantage of this treatment method is painless. Some people afraid that the external radiotherapy will cause the body become radioactive. In fact, there is no such thing happen. However, a patient treated with internal radiation may need to stay in the hospital and quarantine from others until the permanent implant goes down to a safe level.
a) Feel very tired in the later weeks of treatment
b) Radiotherapy kills most of the white blood cells that protecting the body against infection.
c) Hair loss in treated area
d) Skin become red, dry, tender, and itchy
Chemotherapy is a method that uses the drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. However, the healthy cells can also be harmed. The doctor may use one drug or a combination of drugs to fully control the cancer cells from spreading. The body will start to produce the normal cell after the chemotherapy is over.
a) Hair loss
b) Temporary fatigue
c) Poor appetite, nausea and vomiting
4) Hormone therapy
Hormone therapy is a method that treats certain cancers with forbidding certain hormone from growth. This may include the use of drugs to stop the production of some hormones. Some hormone therapies even have to remove the hormone producing organ to stop the body from secreting the hormone anymore. For example, sometimes, we have to remove the ovary to treat the breast cancer. In some of the cases, the side effects of hormone therapy may be temporary or permanent.
b) Have fluid retention
c) Weight gain
d) Bone loss in premenopausal women
5) Biological therapy
Biological therapy is a method that uses our body immune system to fight the disease or to reduce the side effects of cancer treatment, directly or indirectly. This is the most suggested way to treat the cancer.
a) Cause flu-like symptoms
b) Bleed or bruise easily
6) Suppressed and hidden ways for free
Cancer cures from A to Z - really good little read
The treatment of cancer may be only a method or a combination of methods. The best option is depending to the type and location of the cancer diseases. If the disease has spread to other parts of body, the combination methods might be used. Other factors are depending to the patient’s age, general health and so on. Patients may worry whether the side effects of treatment will become worse than the disease or not. Thus, patients and doctors will discuss the treatment options regarding the benefits of the treatment method and the risks of side effects.