Cancer is a genetically programmed event, programmed at birth by the DNA. In malignancy, the cells of the affected organ undergo frantic multiplication to form a hard nodular lump which encroaches into nearby space and may compress other organs. The malignant (cancerous) cells may invade the bloodstream and settle in other places, such as Liver, Lungs, Brain, Bone and Skin, causing lumps everywhere known as Metastasis.
Cancer begins as a harmless lump, which grows rapidly and gives no pain. It may or may not press into the nearby organs, depending upon its location. In many cases it is totally asymptomatic and cause no harm to the patient. Cancer may signal that the end of life is near the corner. Many patients of cancer die of unrelated heart attacks, showing that the heart too was in understanding of the moment of departure. The few years of post-cancer life is comfortable and suffering may result only because of the adverse effects of intervention.
In great frenzy to save the cancer from spreading, radical surgery is undertaken, removing all tissue of neighbouring organs in nearby vicinity of the cancerous lump. Such surgery is often detrimental and can cause troublesome damage to adjacent tissues. Furthermore there is a theory that the total body cancerous mass is retained at a constant by the DNA. This implies that more metastasis results from every surgical removal of a cancerous lump.
Surgery is followed by Radiation therapy, which seemingly burns the cancerous tissue, while adversely melting nearby healthy tissue. Radiation burns, Radiation diarrhoea, radiation urinary bleeds, radiation caries causing discoloration and cavities of teeth are extremely demoralizing to the already panic struck patient.
Another common approach is use of Chemotherapy, where cellular poisons are used to annihilate rapidly dividing cancer cells. While the cancer cell population goes down, the other bodily cells which divide rapidly are also affected. Therefore every cycle of chemotherapeutic injections may be followed by severe Bone marrow injury, Kidney injury and hair loss. Chemotherapy depresses the Bone marrow function and supresses RBC, WBC and Platelet cell lines. Fall in RBC count causes anaemia and severe weakness, fall in WBC count causes loss of immunity followed by severe life threatening infections and fall in platelets cause bleeding from all orifices of the body. Bleeding in the brain can cause stroke and death.
After chemotherapy the body takes weeks to recover from infection, bleeding from orifices and anaemia associated weakness. As soon as the body recovers, a second cycle of chemo is initiated. And a third cycle and so on. Many patients die of chemo therapy related infection, bleeding in the brain or kidney failure. so Chemotherapy has to be moderated and never aggressive.
So again, we are left with a choice. To treat or not to treat. One promises an extended life span while the other promises quality of life.