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Anal Cancer – Some information about treatments

Anal cancer can be fatal if not detected in its early stages. Broadly there are different types of treatment for people suffering from anal cancer. Clinical trials and standard treatments are used to cure people of anal cancer. However clinical trials are treatments that are used on patients who are suffering with anal cancer and if the treatment works and produces good results it will become a standard treatment. Clinical trials cannot be taken by all patients, only people who have been recently diagnosed with the disease and have not undergone any standard treatment can make use of clinical trials.
Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy is one of the most commonly used forms of treatment used to kill cancer cells. It makes use of high energy x-rays or any other radiation. Radiation therapy is of two types: Internal radiation therapy and external radiation therapy. In External radiation therapy radiation from outside the body is used to send radiation from a machine towards the cancer. Internal radiation therapy involves using a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds are directly placed near or into the cancer cells. The type of radiation therapy is decided depending upon the stage of the cancer.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a treatment for cancer that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells by killing them or by stopping them from dividing. Chemotherapy can be taken orally or be injected into a muscle or vein. Systemic chemotherapy ensures that through this method the drugs are transported to the cancer cells through the blood stream. Regional chemotherapy is the process where the drugs are placed directly into the any organ or cavity of the body. In this way the drug affects only the select area.

Surgery:
Local Resection: Is a process which involves cutting of the tumor from the anus with some healthy tissue around it. This process can be used if the cancer has not spread and is small. Tumors that form in the lower part can be removed by this method of surgery
Abdominal Resection: This is a surgical procedure whihc requires the anus, a part of the sigmoid and the rectum to be removed with an incision in the abdomen. A Colostomy is performed so that the waste from the body can be collected in a bag outside the human body.

In case a person is suffering from human immunodeficiency virus, there is a chance that the cancer treatment may weaken him further and affect the treatment. And that is why patients who are suffering from human immune deficiency virus are treated with lower doses and lesser radiation.
A number of new treatments are being tested in clinical trials everyday. Radiosensitizers make tumor cells sensitive to radiation therapy. On combining the two the radiation therapy can be more effective. However clinical trials are just tests and they are not definite treatments, therefore patients who do choose to participate in these trials should consider all the possibilities before they do so. However there is no sure way of finding out if a clinical trial will be effective, but one can take solace in the fact that many of the standard treatments today were once tried clinically.
Patients can choose to be a part of clinical trials at any time. It does not matter if they have already undergone a standard treatment. They can choose to participate in a clinical trial before, during or after standard treatment. However there are certain clinical trials that will not accept patients who have received standard treatment. On the other hand some will accept patients who have undergone standard treatment but have seen no improvement in their condition. And there are other types of clinical treatments that stop the cancer from recurring and they also reduce the side effects of the treatment.

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