Cancer is one of the most tragic and life threatening diseases of the modern world. There are over 200 recorded types of cancer, many of which may have a fatal outcome if not detected and treated in a timely manner.
Treatments available may vary from one country to the other and also depend on the severity of each individual case. While some patients may successfully fight cancer once and for all, its recursive nature makes it difficult to predict the final result.
That is why regular health check-ups are in place, especially in patients with a family history or inherited faulty genes.
Medical tourism is what can offer relief in such cases. Some patients engage in medical tourism in search for cancer treatment, looking for quality rather than affordability of appropriate remedy. In fact, some UK doctors admit that there are private clinics abroad that offer better therapy and technology. Furthermore, some cancer treatment centres of America and in India are known as the best cancer hospitals in the world due to their proven success in the past.
What is cancer?
Cancer is a group of medical diseases caused by abnormal cell growth that could potentially spread to other body parts. Cancer cells are characterised by three features: aggressive (because they divide and spread excessively), invasive (because they invade adjacent tissues and other body parts), and metastatic (because they cause damage to other parts of the body).
It is one of the diseases that may or may not be inherited. Hence, its known causes so far range from genetics, chemical infections, diets and exercise, radiation, hormones, substance abuse (such as smoking or alcoholism), or autoimmune diseases.
There are two types of cancer. While benign cancers are not malicious and tend not to invade other body parts, malign cancers are harmful and can have a lethal outcome.
Patients who notice lumps, unusual or abnormal bleeding, prolonged coughing, unexplained or unexpected weight loss or loss of appetite, chills, fatigue, malaise, night sweats, fevers, or a change in bowel functioning, should visit their doctor due to possibility of these symptoms indicating not only cancer but a range of other medical conditions as well. In each case, proper diagnosis and treatment are required.
Once diagnosed, cancer can be treated in several ways. Not all of them have the same efficiency, however, in some cases, a combination of two or three is in place. Available cancer treatments include chemotherapy, radiation, surgical removal, palliative care, and immunotherapy. Alternative medicine could have a positive effect, but patients are still advised to look for professional medical attention and have their regular health check-ups.
How many cancer types are there?
According to the National Cancer Institute, cancers are usually named after the organs where they form, but they may also be classified according to the type of cells that form them.
That is why the exact number of cancer types cannot be determined, and there are about 200 registered cancer types so far.
Most common cancer types are carcinoma (skin cancer), sarcoma (bone cancer), leukaemia (bone marrow cancer), lymphoma and multiple myeloma (immune system cancer), and malignancy (brain and spinal cord cancer).
On the other hand, the most common cancers in the US are prostate cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer. Other than those, brain cancer is relatively common, as well as cervical cancer, oesophageal cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, kidney cancer, leukaemia, ovarian cancer, testicular cancer, etc.
Can cancer be prevented?
There are some evidence that cancer is potentially preventable. In fact, between 70 and 90% of cancers are due to environmental risk factors, such as controllable lifestyle choices.
Over 30% of cancer deaths could be prevented by avoiding risk factors such as smoking, obesity, insufficient diet, physical inactivity, alcoholism, air pollution, and sexually transmitted infections. Understandably, hereditary genetic abnormalities or background radiation cannot be prevented from their natural occurrence, hence cancers caused by these risk factors cannot be prevented.
What cancers are treatable abroad?
When cancer patients opt for treatment abroad, it is usually for prostate cancer, breast cancer, bowel cancer, lung cancer, mouth cancer, throat cancer and lip cancer.
However, since countries such as Germany, Cuba, Israel, India, Mexico, and the US, offer most advanced and most affordable cancer treatments, the list of cancers that are treatable abroad will be prolonged in the future.
What are the top countries for cancer treatment abroad?
Many patients, when considering medical tourism, are interested in best cancer doctors and surgical oncologists in the world and could opt for either Europe, Asia or Americas. On the Medical Tourism Directory you can find information about hospitals offering the best low-cost cancer (oncology) treatments abroad.
While there are many European clinics that specialise in cancer treatment, such as St. Thomas Hospital in UK that is renowned for its cancer diagnosis and treatment specialists and is actually one of the best cancer hospitals in the UK, there are other clinics abroad that offer the same resources to patients.
Countries such as Finland, France, Spain, Germany, Romania, Poland and Turkey offer invaluable therapy options and are easy to reach from both Europe and other countries. French Institute Gustave Roussy is acknowledged world wide, as well as Turkish clinics Acibadem Maslak Hospital in Istanbul, or Medical Park Antalya Hospital in Antalya, Kent Hospital in İzmir; Sf. Constantin Hospital in Braşov, Romania, Neolife Medical Center Romania from Bucharest; and CyberKnife Center in Warsaw, Poland.
On the other hand, India is also gaining popularity as a medical tourism gem, due to its developed technology and constant progress throughout the previous decade or so.
Best cancer hospitals in India are Tata Cancer Hospital in Kolkata, Cancer Hospital in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai. These hospitals offer cancer treatments and some of the best oncologists in India.
Rambam Medical Centre in Haifa, Israel, or Herzliya Medical Centre in Herzliya, Israel; Hong Kong Adventist Hospital in Hong Kong, China; Gleneagles Global Hospitals in Chennai, India; Bangkok Hospital Pattaya in Thailand; Mahkota Medical Centre in Malaysia; National Cancer Centre in Singapore, are all worth consideration when it comes to quality treatment in Asia.
The US offers resources to patients in many diseases. Just some of the most important cancer treatment centres and clinics of America are MD Anderson cancer centre and Houston cancer centre.
Secondly, Mexican clinics are attracting more patients, especially after some of them were moved from the US to Mexico to decrease the prices and ensure faster treatment. The Oasis of hope hospital in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, or Hoxsey bio-medical centre in Tijuana, Mexico,
To conclude, cancer is a serious, life-changing medical condition and should be approached with utmost attention and care. Due to affordable quality treatments, expert medical staff, and advanced technology and procedures, medical tourism offers invaluable resources to cancer patients, with medical centres ranging from Germany and France to Mexico, Cuba, Israel, or the US. What follows is the list of cancer conditions and the available cancer treatments abroad.
- Adrenal cancer
- Anal cancer
- Bile duct cancer
- Bladder cancer (tumour in the bladder lining); www.fightbladdercancer.co.uk/
- Bone cancer (cancer in the bones); Bone cancer UK; Bone cancer Trust
- Brain cancer, brain tumour; Malignant brain tumor on NHS; The Brain tumor Charity
- Breast cancer; Breast cancer now; Breast cancer UK; Breast cancer care
- Carcinoma of unknown primary
- Central nervous system cancer
- Cervical cancer; Cervical cancer UK
- Colon cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Ewing sarcoma
- Eye cancer
- Gallbladder cancer
- Head and neck cancer; Head and neck cancer types
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Kaposi’s sarcoma
- Kidney cancer, renal cancer; Kidney cancer UK; Kidney cancer research
- Laryngeal cancer
- Leukemia (different cancers of blood cells and bone marrow); Leukemia on LLS
- Liver cancer; British liver trust
- Lung cancer; British liver trust – lung cancer
- Mesothelioma, diffuse mesothelioma, malignant mesothelioma (cancer that affects the mesothelium, a thin membrane); Mesothelioma UK; Mesothelioma
- Metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread from the place where it first started to another place in the body); MBCN; Metastasis research
- Multiple myeloma
- Neuroblastoma (cancer of specialised nerve cells); Neuroblastoma UK; Neuroblastoma in children
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Oral cancer
- Ovarian cancer; Ovarian cancer UK
- Pancreatic cancer; Pancreatic cancer UK; Pancreatic cancer action
- Penile cancer
- Pituitary cancer, pituitary tumor (type of brain tumor); Pituitary cancer; Understanding pituitary cancer
- Prostate cancer (prostatectomy, surgery of prostate cancer); BUPA on prostate cancer; Tackle prostate; Prostate cancer UK; Prostate cancer research; PCF
- Rectal cancer
- Retinoblastoma (eye cancer in children); CHECT UK
- Salivary gland cancer; MSD manuals on salivary gland cancer
- Skin cancer – melanoma
- Skin cancer – non-melanoma
- Skin cancer; BAD; British skin foundation; Skin cancer
- Skull tumors, skull tumours; Head and neck tumors
- Soft tissue sarcoma
- Stomach cancer, gastric cancer; Gastric cancer Organisation
- Testicular cancer; Orchid cancer on testicular cancer
- Throat cancer; Throat cancer foundation; Larynx cancer
- Thymus cancer
- Thyroid Cancer; Thyroid cancer Forum; Thyca
- Urethral cancer
- Uterine cancer, endometrial cancer; Gynecologic cancers
- Vaginal cancer
- Vulvar cancer
- Alternative therapies.
- Angiogenesis inhibitors.
- Bone marrow transplantation (replace damaged bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells); NHS on bone marrow transplantation.
- Cancer surgery.
- Chemotherapy (treatment using anti-cancer drugs, cytotoxic).
- Gene therapy (use genes to treat or prevent a disease instead of using drugs or surgery); GHR on gene therapy; Your genome; ASGCT.
- Gynecological oncology.
- High-dose therapy with stem cell rescue.
- Hormone therapy (cancer treatment by hormone therapy); Cancer research UK; Hormonal therapies.
- Hyperthermia cancer treatment, thermotherapy, thermal therapy (treating tumors with heat); Cancer treatment.
- Laser therapy.
- Mohs surgery, Mohs micrographic surgery (treatment of skin cancer).
- PDT Photodynamic therapy.
- Pediatric Hematology/Oncology; ASPHO.
- Radiation therapy, radiotherapy, RT, RTx, XRT (cancer treatment using ionizing radiation); RTA.
- Stem cell transplants (restore stem cells); Bone marrow transplants.