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ZingPath: Cell Division

Cancer Treatment

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Cell Division

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Cancer Treatment

Life Science

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Learners are introduced to surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy as types of cancer treatment.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Describe the three main types of cancer treatment: surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
  • Describe when surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are used in cancer treatment.
  • Identify lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer death.

Everything You'll Have Covered

Cancer treatment is any process used to eradicate or slow the disease of cancer. There are many different forms of treatment ranging from surgery to hormone therapy, or even a holistic approach. However, the three most common types of cancer treatment are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. These three treatments can be used separately, or combined with one another to be more effective.

With some cancerous cells, or tumors, surgical removal of all or as much tumor as possible is considered the best treatment. This procedure is dependent of the size and location of the tumor. When using this process, a surgeon will try to minimize damage to healthy cells.

Radiation therapy is another popular treatment used to eliminate cancer. Radiation therapy uses high energy X-rays to damage the DNA of cells, thus, killing the cancer cells, or at least stopping them from reproducing. Unfortunately, radiation can also damage normal cells, but it tends to damage rapidly growing cells more and beams of radiation are designed to intersect at the places with cancer.

Chemotherapy is a means of using medicine to stop the cancer cells from growing uncontrollably. Chemotherapy can be given orally, intravenously, by injection, directly inserted into the body, or intra-arterially. Doctors often combine different chemotherapies to complement one another. Chemotherapy is not specific to a location. It travels throughout the entire body killing healthy cells too. This is the reason that people often loose their hair, the healthy hair cells are killed.

Cancer treatment can be somewhat complicated because many factors play a significant role in selecting the best treatment for a person. For example, the kind of cancer one has, the stage that it is in, and the treatment program can affect the choice of the appropriate treatment.

Overall, the goal of all treatments is the same, to remove the cancer cells or stop their spreading. When cancer is no longer detected, a patient is said to be in remission. Generally, patients who remain cancer-free for five or more years are considered cured. Some cancers cannot be cured, but all can be treated, and in many cases the patient will improve.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts cells, cancer, mitosis
Course Life Science
Type of Tutorial Concept Development
Key Vocabulary energy pyramids, number of pyramids, biomass pyramids