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Cancer Cure: New Research

Death is an absolute truth which we humans must always be aware of which is sometimes spontaneous or gradual, natural or man-made, painful or subtle. But the reality of the soul separating from its dwelling vessel do happen with death. Cancer is one of the natural menaces that does not know the manner of knocking on the door to the human cell system and trespasses at any moment to harm the very tissue which hospitably greets it. A natural rude beast for sure. Simply, Cancer is part of the list of major death causing diseases, characterized by the development of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue. Cancer often has the ability to spread throughout your body. If not taken care off in the beginning, there remains only rare chances for a patient to survive. Fortunately, it is not an incurable disease and scientists have presented chemotherapy and radiation therapy as way out.

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are both treatments for cancer – the uncontrolled growth and spread of cells to surrounding tissues. Chemotherapy, or "chemo" uses special drugs to shrink or kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy, or "radiation" kills these cells with high-energy beams such as X-rays or protons. Though chemo and radiation both attack cancer cells, they work in different ways. Chemotherapy drugs circulate in your bloodstream. They kill or shrink cancer cells anywhere in your body, not just at the site where the first (primary) cancerous tumor starts. Because these drugs pass through your whole system, they’re called "systemic". Radiation treatment uses invisible bursts of energy instead of drugs. In addition, it is usually a "local" treatment that aims energy beams just at the area where cancer cells grow. Along with killing cancer cells, both chemo and radiation can damage healthy cells. This sometimes causes unpleasant side effects. The exact ones depend on the type and amount of treatment. They also depend on the person; some people have more serious side effects than others.

Some possible side effects that both shares include: Tiredness, Hair loss, Nausea and vomiting, Diarrhea, Skin changes (peeling, dryness, irritation) and Anemia (low red blood cell count).

Because radiation tends to focus on a particular area, you might notice more side effects in that spot. For example, treatment on your neck might make it hard for you to swallow. Radiation on your chest might cause you to cough or have shortness of breath. Because chemotherapy is systemic, it tends to cause more general symptoms. Delayed nausea and vomiting usually starts more than 24 hours after treatment and can last up to a few days after treatment ends. It's more likely with certain types of chemo or other drug to treat cancer. Different medicines are thereafter prescribed to limit the side effects. The trend of using Radiation before or individually than chemo or surgery is skyrocketing. The question exists why Radiotherapy is preferred? Well BBC article has the answer to it:

"Radiotherapy cures more people than chemotherapy, is 13 times more cost effective and is targeted to within millimeters."

But then again how to deal with the effects of electron bombardments, which are more dangerous to humans? Thankfully, scientists in the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania have the answer to it: FLASH RADIOTHERAPY.

Normally, killing cancer cells with radiation and drugs is rather easy; however, tumors like to hide and this makes healthy cells around them susceptible to damage. Radiation therapy takes weeks, and this creates more opportunities where healthy cells can be affected. As a result, the patient can experience health problems even if the cancer is destroyed. With FLASH radiotherapy, the effect on the cancer cells is the same, but the collateral damage to the healthy tissue is crucially reduced. The new study shows that changing the type of particle used, i.e. changing electrons to protons, makes FLASH radiotherapy more effective. Electrons don’t penetrate deep into the body, which makes them useful only with cancer types such as skin cancer. The researchers used protons, which penetrate deeper into the body, to prevent electron-related issues. Protons are useful against most tumor types, and linear accelerators that are already in use at hospitals can be adapted to produce them. The test was carried out on mice with pancreatic flank tumors. Astonishingly, the method prevented the growth of cancer as effectively as regular radiation therapy and reduced the loss of healthy cells. Moreover, proton FLASH therapy didn’t cause side effects such as intestinal fibrosis, which is common in radiation therapy.

Cheap and Precise, what else would a cancer-positive patient need, but the joy has to be retained for a positive delay as now the researchers are translating the treatment to clinical trials and designing a new system that can deliver the proton radiation to humans.