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Brachytherapy also known as known as internal radiation, involves placing radioactive material into a tumour itself or into its surrounding tissue. As the radiation sources are placed close to the tumour cells, a large dose of radiation can be delivered with CT-Scan-image-based 3D planning. Brachytherapy may cause fewer side effects than does external beam radiation and the overall treatment time is usually shorter with brachytherapy. Brachytherapy can be used alone or in conjunction with other cancer treatments. 

Proton beam therapy is a form of external beam radiation treatment that uses protons rather than X-rays to treat certain types of cancer and other diseases. The physical characteristics of the proton therapy beam allow doctors to more effectively reduce the radiation dose to nearby healthy tissue.

Like proton therapy, neutron beam therapy is a specialized form of external beam radiation therapy. It is often used to treat certain tumors that are radio-resistant, meaning that they are very difficult to kill using conventional X-ray radiation therapy. Neutrons have a greater biologic impact on cells than other types of radiation. Used carefully, this added impact can be an advantage in certain situations.

Chemotherapy is a type of treatment that includes a medication or combination of medications to treat cancer. The treatment of cancer using specific chemical agents or drugs that are selectively toxic to malignant cells and tissues. The goal is to stop or slow the growth of cancer cells. Chemo medications attack rapidly growing cancer cells but they can also affect healthy cells that grow rapidly. 

Chemotherapy treatment plans may use a single medication or a combination of medications that can be delivered in more than one way.

  • Injection. Types of injection include:
    • Subcutaneous (SQ): Chemo given as a shot just under the skin.
    • Intramuscular (IM): Chemo given as a shot directly into a muscle.
    • Intravenous (IV): Chemo given as a shot directly into a vein.
  • IV infusion: Chemo medications are dripped through a tube that is attached to a needle and put into a vein.
  • Oral: Chemo taken by mouth as a pill or liquid.
  • Topical: A cream containing the chemo medication that is rubbed into the skin.
  • Intra-Arterial (IA): Chemo delivered into an artery that is connected to the tumour.
  • Intraperitoneal (IP): Chemo given directly into the area that contains the intestines, stomach, liver, ovaries etc called the peritoneal cavity.
  • A number of blood cells that divide rapidly can be damaged along with cancer cells during chemotherapy
    • Neutropenia: White blood cells help protect the body from infection. If your white blood cell count gets too low, you could get an infection.
    • Anemia: Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body. Anemia can lead to fatigue, chest pain and more complications.
    • Thrombocytopenia: Platelets are structures in the blood that help stop bleeding. A low platelet count can cause bruising and bleeding.
  • Hair follicles are rapidly growing cells that can be affected by chemo, leading to hair loss.
  • Mucositis: Mucous membrane cell lining of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines and the rectum to the anus is affected. It causes mouth sores, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea or constipation.
  • Hearing impairment.
  • Loss of appetite: One should try to eat well by taking smaller and more frequent meals and take in plenty of fluids. 
  • Nails and skin: Nails may become flaky and brittle. The skin may become more sensitive to sunlight, patchy, dry and sore.
  • Cognitive problems: Shorter attention span; lack of focus & concentration, problems in comprehension and understanding, judgment and reasoning and memory.
  • Mood swings.
  • Low sex drive, Libido and fertility issues.
  • Depression.

Staying hydrated can help minimize the fatigue and constipation caused by chemo. It also protects the kidneys from the toxic waste buildup caused from cancer drugs. The process of chemotherapy causes the body to lose more water and become dehydrated.

  • Drugs- Indian or imported
  • Stage and spread of cancer
  • Patient’s age and medical history
  • Patient’s General health and attitude
  • Treatment plan
  • Chemotherapy alone or supported by radiotherapy
  • Other therapies like hormonal and immunotherapy
  • City and the cost of real estate
  • Infrastructure and facilities provided at the hospital
  • Machines and techniques used
  • Doctor’s fees

The costs for chemotherapy can vary. Expenses differ depending on the drugs, the stage of the cancer and other factors specific to each patient. The cost of diagnostics like CT Scans, PET Scans, MRI, FNAC, biopsy and other diagnostics need to be added.

No two cancers have the same treatment approach. The treating team of doctors decide the line of treatment comprising of chemotherapy, radiotherapy or both. Many times surgery is required.

Other treatment options like hormone therapy and immunotherapy can also be used along. The cost of treatment thus varies according to the treatment chosen.

The cost of the cancer which is diagnosed at an early stage is lower than the one diagnosed later. The extent of spread of the cancer, patient’s age, medical history and general health influence the cost.

The type of drugs used whether Indian made or imported also changes the costing.

The cost of cancer treatment is different in different cities and different areas in the same city depending on the real estate, machinery, implants and equipment. Infrastructure of the hospital, room facility, machines and the techniques used, common cancer tests and investigation costs, surgeons and other doctors visiting fees are the other determining factors.

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