You may have undergone chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery in the earlier stages of your cancer. In progressive stages, the techniques are usually less about curing and more about improving the length and quality of your life.
The treatments may be used, alone or together, to shrink the cancer or slow its growth, particularly if it is causing pain. Not everyone will benefit from palliative chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery, but it is worth discussing with your doctor or oncologist.
The treatment of all types of cancer is always being researched and breakthroughs occur regularly. If you have given up on the tried and tested, you may find hope in clinical trials relevant to your illness.
Traces of some chemotherapy drugs can be passed to other bodily fluids, so it may be necessary to take precautions (eg. latex gloves, condoms). Ask your oncologist.
These trials are usually run by teaching hospitals, universities, or drug companies and test techniques, vaccines or drugs that have shown promising results during development and are ready to be tested under controlled conditions in “real life”.
Some trials involve more risk than others, and some may have ethical concerns. A legitimate clinical trial will have complied with a number of strict conditions and passed an ethical review.
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Life, Hope & Reality was developed and written by Afaf Girgis, Claire Johnson, and Sylvie Lambert with funding from the NHMRC and Cancer Council NSW.
Last updated 30 August 2015