Chemotherapy [3]

Chemotherapy [3]

What criteria does a doctor use when choosing chemotherapy? Whether a doctor chooses one drug (monotherapy) for you, a number of different drugs (combined chemotherapy) or successive changes to your chemotherapy regime depends on a number of factors. First, doctors are directed by European, American or Latvian treatment guidelines for specific tumours, adjusting them to local circumstances (mainly the availability of state-subsidised drugs). These guidelines have been compiled based on the experience gained from numerous clinical studies. It’s true, however,…

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Ķīmijterapija [3]

Ķīmijterapija [3]

Pēc kādiem kritērijiem ārsts izvēlas ķīmijterapiju? Tas, vai ārsts jums izvēlēsies viena medikamenta lietošanu (monoterapija), vairāku preparātu (kombinētu) ķīmijterapiju vai secīgi nomainīs dažādas shēmas, būs atkarīgs no vairākiem faktoriem. Pirmkārt, ārsti vadās no Eiropas, Amerikas vai Latvijas vadlīnijām konkrētu audzēju ārstēšanā, tās pielāgojot vietējām iespējām (galvenokārt valsts apmaksātu zāļu pieejamībai). Vadlīnijās savukārt ir apkopota dažādos klīniskos pētījumos gūtā pieredze. Tiesa, pētījumos parasti tiek iekļauti pacienti pēc noteiktiem kritērijiem, tādēļ ekstrapolējot (pārnesot) šos datus uz reālo pacientu kopumu, galarezultāti var nedaudz…

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Chemotherapy [2]

Chemotherapy [2]

Chemotherapeutic agents Chemotherapeutic agents are drugs that basically affect a variety of cell cycle phases by completely or partially interrupting cell division or by destroying them. This is why they’re called cytotoxic (harmful or toxic to cells) drugs and the therapy itself, cytotoxic therapy or chemotherapy. At present several dozen chemotherapy treatments are available and every day thousands of people receive one of these therapies. Cytotoxic drugs can be used on their own (monotherapy) or in combination with other drugs…

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Chemotherapy [1]

Chemotherapy [1]

Chemotherapy is one type of systemic treatment. This means that once the chemical substances, or drugs, enter the bloodstream, they spread throughout the entire body. While surgery and radiation are considered local treatment methods, drug therapy is systemic affecting the whole body. Patients traditionally refer to it simply as chemo, but today a wide variety of drugs are available, which differ not only in the way that they work, but also in their structure and how they were designed. Therefore,…

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How and with whom to share your diagnosis [1]

How and with whom to share your diagnosis [1]

At first you may want to tell the whole world about your pain, so that everyone knows what’s happened to you. The exact opposite may also be true – you’re deathly afraid that someone might learn the truth. Both situations, and dozens of other variations of these, are completely normal reactions. These are your feelings, your desires and your understanding of the situation at the time and that’s how it should be. However, you’ll soon realise that it’s best to…

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The cancer patient’s Road to Calvary

The cancer patient’s Road to Calvary

In this chapter I’ll discuss the various stages you’ll encounter over the course of the disease. From my experience I know that the better prepared a person is, the easier it is for him to accept what’s coming, to get past all of the difficult obstacles in his path and to start talking to other people about his experiences. First station – diagnosis Being diagnosed is a shock and also inspires feelings of fear, confusion, disbelief, desperation and hopelessness… In…

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Is it possible to be spontaneously cured of cancer?

Is it possible to be spontaneously cured of cancer?

Tales of a spontaneous cure (accidental, inexplicable, not connected with treatment) are very popular in the oral folklore of patients, when a terminally ill patient, without the aid of any medical professionals, gradually gets better and lives to a ripe old age. How beautiful this would be, if it were only true! It’s not uncommon for a mistaken diagnosis of cancer to be given while looking at symptoms of another illness. Every doctor has also seen a few cases where…

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Other characteristic tumour parameters [2]

Other characteristic tumour parameters [2]

Over the past 20 years our knowledge of the molecular biology of tumours has increased significantly. This has led to the discovery and development of a number of biological or molecular markers, which have allowed us, in practice, to confirm their role in many different tumours. All of these biomarkers can be conditionally divided into two large groups – prognostic or predictive markers. Prognostic markers Prognostic markers are indicators, which allow us to evaluate the potential course and outcome of…

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Other characteristic tumour parameters [1]

Other characteristic tumour parameters [1]

In an earlier blogpost I wrote about how to understand the TNM Classification used in your medical records. Now I’ll familiarise you with other factors that are just as important in determining your treatment strategy and which are important to understand. G or grading Earlier, the phrase tumour differentiation grade was often used. Today, tumour grading is a broader concept, which reflects how much the tissues of the tumour differ from normal tissues of the respective organ. The grade also…

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TNM Classification

TNM Classification

Most patients (but not all) will no doubt notice this collection of letters and additional letters or numbers in their lab results and health records. This is an international anatomically-based classification system for malignant tumours, which was devised by Pierre Denoix in the 1940s. The first TNM Classification was published in 1968 by the International Cancer Research Organization. Although doctors in Latvia are currently using the 7th edition of this classification system, the 8th edition was published on January 1,…

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