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Cancer 101: A Cancer Education
and Training Program for
American Indians & Alaska Natives
Version 2 – Updated October 2011
Presented by:
Presenter 1
Presenter 2
Basics of Cancer Treatment
Cancer 101 – Version 2
Learning Module 7
Learning Objectives
At the completion of learning Module 7,
you will be able to:
 Discuss the Western and traditional
approach to cancer treatment
Discuss the difference between local
and systemic treatment for cancer
Learning Objectives (cont’d)
Describe the reason side effects
occur with cancer treatment
Describe at least two side effects
that can occur as a result of cancer
Discuss the benefits of managing
physical effects of cancer and
cancer treatment
How We Become Well Again
For many AI/AN diagnosed with
cancer, treatment often involves a
blend of both Western medicine and
traditional medicine.
Both may be necessary in the fight
against cancer.
Western Medicine
Characteristics of the Western medical
approach to cancer treatment
 Science based.
 Focus on physical aspect of the
 Team of special doctors working
together to develop a treatment
plan to fit the patient’s situation.
Traditional Medicine
Characteristics of traditional medicine
 A traditional healer establishes a
long-term relationship with the
person and their family
 Treatment plan focus is on the
“whole person”.
Holistic Approach
Goal of treatment is centered on
restoring harmony and balance.
AI/AN are most likely to benefit
when treatment is focused on a
holistic approach that involves a
blending of Western and traditional
Cancer Treatment
The treatment team:
 Patient
 Surgeons
 Medical
 Radiation
 Nurses
 Others
The treatment plan:
 Surgery
 Chemotherapy
 Radiation therapy
 Hormone therapy
 Biological therapy
 Stem cell
 Clinical trial
Treatment Factors
Treatment for cancer depends on the
following factors:
 Type of cancer
 Size, location and stage of the
 General health of the individual
Local or systemic treatment?
Local treatment
affects cancer cells
in the tumor and
the area near it:
 Surgery
 Radiation therapy
Systemic treatment
travels through
the bloodstream
reaching cancer
cells all over the
 Chemotherapy
 Hormone therapy
 Biological therapy
Treatment Methods - Surgery
The removal of the
cancerous tumor.
May also include
removal of the
surrounding tissue
and lymph nodes
near the tumor.
Photo credit: Linda Bartlett | Source: NCI
Treatment Methods
– Radiation Therapy
Use of high-energy
rays to kill cancer
Photo credit: Rhoda Baer | Source: NCI
External (outside the
Internal (implanted in
the body)
Treatment Methods - Chemotherapy
The use of drugs to
kill cancer cells.
Can be given:
(through a vein)
Oral/by mouth (pills)
Injection (a shot in
the skin tissue or
Topical (applied on
the skin)
Photo credit: Rhoda Baer | Source: NCI
Treatment Methods
– Hormone Therapy
Used against certain cancers that
depend on hormones for their
Breast cancer
Prostate cancer
Anti-hormone treatment can cause
these cancers to go away or be
controlled for a time.
Treatment Methods
– Biological Therapy
Also known as immunotherapy.
Stop or slow the growth of cancer cells
Make it easier for the immune system
to destroy cancer cells
Keep cancer from spreading to other
parts of the body
Treatment Methods
– Stem Cell Transplantation
Transplantation of blood-forming
stem cells enable patients to receive
high doses of chemotherapy and/or
radiation therapy.
Three types of stem cell
Treatment Methods – Clinical Trials
Research studies that evaluate
promising new therapies and
answer scientific questions.
Cancer treatments available today
are the result of clinical trial
Complementary & Alternative
Medicine (CAM)
Complementary medicine
Alternative medicine
Ensure safe and coordinated care!
Inform your provider about any
therapies you use or are considering
Side Effects
Side effects depend mainly on the
type and extent of the treatment.
Surgery  Pain
Radiation therapy  Tiredness, skin
Chemotherapy  Hair loss, anemia,
tiredness, weakness, poor appetite,
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth or lip
Biological therapy  Flu-like symptoms
Hormone therapy  Weight gain, hot
flashes, nausea
Palliative Care
Manage physical effects of cancer
and/or its treatment.
Given in addition to treatment
throughout patient’s experience
with cancer.
Every person will have different
palliative care needs.
Research shows it improves quality
of life.
Case Study
Martha had local and systemic
Surgery to remove the breast tumor
External radiation therapy to the breast
after surgery.
Tamoxifen after surgery for prevention
Complementary Medicine:
In Summary
You now have an understanding of:
Common cancer treatments and their
potential side effects.