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Cancer Treatments

 

Overview

The effectiveness of any kind of cancer treatment depends on a number of factors including the type of cancer , or malignancy , the location of the disease and the extent that the cancer has spread to other areas of the body. Most cancers are usually treated with a combination approach. The main cancer treatments include surgery to remove the cancerous cells, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Surgery and radiotherapy are local treatments. Both are used early in the treatment of cancer or in combination later with other treatments. They work best when the cancer cells have not spread too much within the body. Surgery may even be used after the cancer has advanced to relieve some of the symptoms and reduce the mass of malignant cells. Radiotherapy uses X-rays and radium to kill cancer cells. Accelerator and betatron machines beam these rays at the patients. Chemotherapy and immunotherapy are called systemic treatments because they can act on cancer cells throughout the body. Chemotherapy uses a variety of anti-cancer drugs that keep the malignant cells from multiplying. Effective treatments involve finding the best combination of drugs to treat the patient. Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, involves different types of treatments that rely on manipulating a patient's immune system. A relatively new approach to cancer treatment, immunotherapy procedures increase the body's natural ability to destroy malignant cells. Prevention and early diagnosis, however, will probably continue to be the most effective ways to control cancer. There are a few strategies you can use to lower your risk of cancer. Eat a diet low in fat and high in fruit and grains, refrain from tobacco products and avoid too much exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun.

Activity

You can simulate how cancer develops by growing molds and then finding ways to control their growth like cancer researchers do when they develop new treatments for cancer. Materials
  • Several slices of white bread
  • Orange sections
  • Strawberries
  • Jack or cheddar cheese
  • Cantaloupe pieces
  • 10 small glass jars
  • Penicillium
  • Eye dropper
1. Separate the jars into two groups of five each. One set will be used for the control group of samples which will not receive any special treatment. The other group will be used for the experimental group. Label each group's jars as "control" or "experimental". 2. Put a piece of each of the five foods into the five control jars and then into the five experimental jars. Label each jar with the name of the food that is in it. 3. Make sure the experimental group of foods are kept under the same conditions as the control group both before and during the activity. Treat the food in each of the five experimental jars with ten drops of penicillium. The jars should be left open. 4. Observe what happens to the food over a period of several weeks. Check the jars each day for changes and record your observations. What effects does the penicillium have on the mold growth on each food? 5. Analyze both the experimental and control groups. Prepare a report summarizing your findings.

Resources

  • Hyde, Margaret O. and Hyde, Lawrence E..CANCER IN THE YOUNG: A SENSE OF HOPE. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1985.