Medical treatment involves the application of procedures or systematic therapeutic measures in order to cure or relieve illness or injury. The field of medicine is broad and includes many sub-specialties.
Primary care focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases or disorders that affect people in their everyday lives. It includes a wide range of services, from annual checkups to diagnosing and treating cancer or a chronic disease like diabetes.
Secondary care focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of health problems that require hospitalization or surgery. This includes care at hospitals, specialty clinics and surgical centers.
Tertiary care focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of serious or life-threatening illnesses, including trauma, burns, organ transplants, high-risk pregnancy and radiation oncology. This includes medical, surgical and psychiatric care for patients of all ages, including children.
Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments and technologies. They may be funded by pharmaceutical companies, Federal agencies or private organizations.
They often involve comparing different medications, therapies or procedures to see which ones are most effective and safest for patients. They can also include research into how different therapies impact the body and its ability to heal itself.
Medications are drugs or other substances that help the body fight diseases, conditions and injuries. They can be taken orally (as pills) or by injection through a needle into a vein in the arm, chest or neck.
These medications work by affecting cells that may be responsible for a disease. They are usually prescribed by a doctor who specializes in that type of treatment, such as a medical oncologist.
Drugs that have been proven to kill cancer cells can be taken orally (as pills) and by injection into the bloodstream. Alternatively, they can be given through an intravenous (IV) tube that is placed into a vein in the arm or inserted into a vein in the leg.
Some drugs that destroy cancer cells can cause side effects. These side effects may include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness and drowsiness.
When taking a medication, be sure to follow the directions carefully and talk with your doctor or pharmacist about any questions you may have. You may need to be monitored closely if you are taking an oral medication.
If a drug or therapy is being used to treat cancer, your doctor should tell you about the risks and benefits of that treatment. They may use tools called nomograms to estimate your risk of recurrence, which is the chance that the cancer will come back.
A recurrence of the original cancer can occur in any part of the body, or it may be in a different part of the body than when it was first diagnosed. The risk of recurrence is influenced by your age, gender, genetics and other factors.
Having cancer can be very scary. Fortunately, there are options for treating cancer, such as surgery and hormone therapy. Understanding your recurrence risk, the treatment options that are available and ways to cope with it can help you to live better with the disease.