In order to provide a patient with maximal benefits, treatments for stage IV cancer need to be well tolerated and have minimal side effects. Another important requirement is precise targeting tumor and metastases without affection of healthy tissues. Possibility of administration in patients with the poor general condition will be an advantage as well. Among methods that correspond to all the requirements are hyperthermia, active and passive immunotherapy, and chemoembolization.
To provide a patient with maximal benefits, treatments for stage IV cancer need to be well tolerated and have minimal side effects. Another important requirement is precise targeting tumor and metastases without affection of healthy tissues. Possibility of administration in patients with the poor general condition will be an advantage as well. Among methods that correspond to all the requirements are hyperthermia, active and passive immunotherapy, and chemoembolization.
Medical hyperthermia – simple and resultant
Local, regional or total hyperthermia implies heating of the affected with oncologic process region to 38-42°C. Under these circumstances, blood vessels that feed tumor become blocked, so it does not receive oxygen and nutrients. Besides, tumor suffers from own toxic metabolic products.
Medical hyperthermia is safe for the healthy tissues, as blood flow in the normal vessels, vice versa, increases as body temperature rises. Nevertheless, the procedure is performed under the careful doctor’s control. Duration and temperature are adjusted constantly according to the patient's pulse rate. Heating and cooling intervals alternate during the procedure.
Laser-induced interstitial thermotherapy (LITT) is another mode of thermotherapy. It is performed with Nd: YAG-laser that raises the temperature in the target area up to 60-110°C and thus destroys the tumor.
Boosting patient’s anti-cancer immunity
In patients with cancer immune system loses the ability to recognize and destroy malignant cells. Several therapeutic options were elaborated for restoring this ability:
- Application of monoclonal antibodies that recognize specific proteins on the surface of atypical cells and make them visible to the immune system.
- Oncolytic virus medications (e.g. T-VEC) are injected into hard-to-reach melanoma regions. Virus penetrates malignant cells and destroys them.
- Cancer vaccines are used for both cancer therapy and prevention. Vaccines contain therapeutic antibodies or tumor antigens.
- T-cell therapy, including CAR T-cell one. Normally, T-cells fight bacteria or other pathogens. Modified T-cells target atypical cells regardless of whether it is a primary tumor or metastasis.
- Non-specific measures like administration of interferons and interleukins.
In 2018, a study of the immune system function in oncologic patients was awarded by the Nobel Prize, which additionally confirms the role of this approach in the advanced stage cancer treatment.
Chemoembolization – chemotherapy with fewer side effects
Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) allows delivering chemotherapeutic agents directly to the malignant neoplasm. Being injected into the regional arteries of the affected organ, emboli or drug-eluting microspheres (DEM) create a locally high concentration of the medication.
In addition to better tolerability and fewer side effects, TACE provides patients with a longer effect. Blocked by the emboli blood vessels prevent the medication from entering the systemic circulation. As the supplementary effect, arteries blockage diminishes blood supply of the neoplasm making it shrink.
TACE is performed as the outpatient procedure; it requires a short hospital stay. The technique is successfully used in the therapy of neoplasms with active blood supply, e.g. breast cancer, liver cancer, and colorectal tumors. Few procedures may be required for blocking the smallest tumor vessels.
Treatment of advanced cancer stages in the leading European clinics
The whole spectrum of treatments for stage IV cancer is available in specialized European hospitals. For those patients who need to travel abroad for receiving such therapy, it will be reasonable to use services of Booking Health. Booking Health is the experienced medical tourism provider that facilitates treatment abroad for oncological patients from 75 countries.
Booking Health assists in:
- Choosing between the best hospitals and physicians.
- Getting familiar with preliminary diagnostic and therapeutic programs.
- Booking the appointment without long waiting.
- Monitoring of the treatment course by independent experts.
- Providing favorable cost for medical services (saving up to 50%).
- Communication with physician and clinic after program completion, receiving medical reports, arranging control examinations.
- Control of sum in the final calculation.
- Booking tickets and accommodation, transfer organization.