English Across the Curriculum
About a hundred years ago people who developed cancer were certain to die. Today, medicine has made so much progress that about half of all cancer patients can be treated successfully depending on the form of cancer.
In many cases a pathologist examines cancer cells during an operation and then decides how much tissue must be removed. Very often, healthy tissue around the tumour is also taken away in order to make sure all cancer cells are removed.
The discovery of X-rays has led to a treatment called radiotherapy. When surgery is too dangerous or risky radiotherapy is a good alternative. In this form of treatment X-rays or gamma rays are beamed directly at the tumour. Cancer cells are killed off and do not multiply any more.
If a cancer has already spread to other parts of the body or has invaded other organs doctors use chemotherapy. Chemicals are injected into your body or you take them orally. They then travel throughout your body and kill off cancer cells wherever they find them. Often, a combination of drugs is used because some drugs reduce the size of cancer tumours only for a short time.
During radiotherapy or chemotherapy many cancer patients lose their hair, develop bad skin and become more tired. Other side effects include bleeding, infection, vomiting or diarrhea. Sometimes people who have been treated with cancer become infertile – they can't have children any more.
Researchers and scientists have been working hard to find a cure for cancer. Governments around the world have been spending a lot of money over the past decades to find better ways of fighting this disease.