Cancer treatments and outcomes

Cancers share some common characteristics:

• Growth that is not subject to normal restrictions for that tissue and fails to respond to apoptotic signals (see later) or in which a high proportion of cells are dividing, i.e. there is a high 'growth fraction'

• Local invasiveness

• Tendency to spread to other parts of the body (metastasise)

• Less differentiated cell morphology

• Tendency to retain some characteristics of the tissue of origin.

Cancer treatment employs six established principal modalities:

1. surgery

2. radiotherapy

3. chemotherapy

4. endocrine therapy

5. immunotherapy

6. biological therapy.

Details of the exploitation of all of these techniques, whether alone, sequentially or concurrently is beyond the scope of a book on clinical phar

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