Diagnosis and treatment options
Methods of modern cancer treatments are surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However for specific types of cancer there are also other therapy options available.
Precise diagnosis of the kind of cancer and the tumour’s stage of development is vital for determining the treatment strategy, and makes it possible to estimate the patient’s chances of recovery and life expectancy.
- Blood test (tumour marker)
- Extraction of tissue samples (biopsy, injection)
- Medical imaging such as x-ray imaging (mammography), ultrasound examinations, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), scintigraphy
- Genetic examinations
The experienced specialists at Hirslanden have access to the latest medical infrastructure, so they can quickly and precisely diagnose cancer on site at the hospital.
The aim of cancer treatment is either to completely destroy all the tumour tissue in order to achieve long-term remission, or to reduce the size of the tumour, lessen tumour-related symptoms and prevent complications. Often two or three established therapies are combined in order to destroy not only the tumour, but also the tiniest tumour fragments and individual tumour cells, which improves the chances of the treatment’s success and reduces the risk of the cancer returning:
Most tumours are treated surgically. The aim is always to remove the entire tumour. To ensure the cancer has been successfully eradicated, most patients also require chemotherapy or radiotherapy after their operation.
Radiotherapy (radiation therapy)
Tumour cells typically divide quickly and uncontrollably. Radiotherapy inhibits cell division by damaging or even destroying the tumour cells. So it can slow or prohibit the tumour’s growth.
Chemotherapy (medication therapy)
Chemotherapy involves using medication to block or prohibit the growth of cancer cells. A variety of medications are used, depending on the type of cancer and its stage of development.
Some types of cancer, such as certain forms of breast or prostate cancer, are related to the body’s metabolism or sex hormones. Medication can be used to suppress the effect of these hormones, which then limits or prohibits the growth of the cancer cells. Anti-hormonal therapy is mostly used after other treatments.
At Hirslanden, regular tumourboard meetings are held to determine the best possible therapy for each patient. Various medical specialists come together once a week at these meetings to discuss treatment options for new or existing tumour patients and plan their therapies.
The tumourboard members include specialists from medical oncology, haematology, radiation oncology, pathology, visceral and thoracic surgery, gynaecology, urology, ENT, neurosurgery, pneumology, gastroenterology, nuclear medicine and diagnostic radiology. Referring doctors are also welcome to attend the meetings.
This is the best way to coordinate comprehensive and individualised therapy for every patient, and to ensure cancer patients benefit from a variety of specialist expertise.