Cancer affects more than 15 million people in the United States. Claiming one in four lives lost each year, it is the second leading cause of death behind heart disease. Cancer can affect any area of the body and occurs when an abnormality in cells causes them to divide uncontrollably, without stopping. When cancer cells grow uncontrollably into new, abnormal tissue that forms a mass or a lump, this is called a malignant (cancerous) tumor. This article outlines treatments that can shrink malignant tumors.
Scientists are currently studying klotho protein, which is a naturally occurring protein that has the potential to contribute to tumor suppression. Research has shown that the presence of klotho protein is directly involved in interrupting the pathways that stimulate tumor formation and growth in mice. Although a therapy using klotho protein is not currently available for human treatment, scientists continue to work towards being able to provide klotho therapy for the treatment of tumors and other types of cancers.
Chemotherapy is a treatment that typically uses strong medications to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells. It can be administered via an injection or oral medication. The medications that are given during chemotherapy treatment work by killing cells that grow fast, such as cancer cells. One way in which chemotherapy is used to treat cancer is to shrink tumors before an individual undergoes surgery to have the mass removed. It can also be administered after excision surgery to remove a tumor to kill any cancer cells that might remain.
Radiation therapy is a treatment that uses radiation directed at the area of the body where the tumor is located to kill cancer cells. Like chemotherapy, radiation can be used to shrink a tumor before an individual undergoes surgery to have the mass removed or to kill any cancer cells that remain after surgical excision of the tumor. Radiation therapy can also be used to relieve symptoms, like pain or pressure, associated with a tumor that is advanced and untreatable.
Some cancers, such as certain types of prostate and breast cancer, grow in the presence of specific hormones. For example, in the case of prostate cancer cells grow in the presence of androgen hormones, like testosterone. Breast cancer cells grow in the presence of estrogen. Hormone therapy, also called endocrine therapy, is a type of treatment that involves taking oral medications that either block or suppress the production of a certain hormone in order to shrink or slow the growth of a tumor. These medications are typically prescribed in combination with other treatments, such as surgical excision of the tumor.
Learn More About Treatments for Cancerous Tumors
If you would like to learn more about how malignant tumors can be treated, talk to your healthcare provider. For additional information, the National Cancer Institute provides learning materials and educational information for patients and family members on their website.