You are looking for information on cancer therapy and specialists for treatment or surgery? Here you will find exclusively experienced specialists and clinics in Germany, Switzerland or Austria for the diagnosis and therapy of tumor diseases. Find out more about methods, alternatives and risks and contact our experts for a second opinion or treatment.
List of doctors for cancer therapy
Prof. Dr. med. Daniel M. Aebersold
Radiotherapy& Radiation Oncology
CyberKnife Center Central Germany
Radiosurgery& Precision radiotherapy
Prof. Dr. med. Martin Fruh
IOZK – Immuno-Oncology Center Cologne
Prof. Dr. med. Beate Timmermann
Radiotherapy& Radiation Oncology
Prof. Dr. med. Damien C. Weber
PD Dr. med. Christian Weissenberger
Information about cancer therapy
When is cancer therapy performed?
The goal of cancer therapy is the cure of an existing cancer condition. Early detection of the cancer is important for this purpose. Various early detection examinations should help (for example breast cancer screening, colorectal cancer screening and prostate cancer screening). The earlier a cancer is diagnosed, the greater the chances of recovery.
In addition to tumor characteristics, the age and health status of the cancer patient are particularly important. This can be decisive for the choice of a certain type of therapy.
In certain cases, wait-and-see control of tumor parameters may be possible. Because the side effects of the therapy are too great and the tumor growth is low, this means that the cancer therapy is only applied when symptoms occur (ex. Prostate cancer in older age).
If the tumor is discovered too late and a cure is no longer possible, cancer therapy attempts to relieve symptoms and pain, as well as improve quality of life.
What methods of cancer therapy are available??
Each tumor responds differently to different types of cancer therapy. Therefore, there are specific therapy regimens for each type of cancer. These include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, tumor surgery, antibody therapies and other drug treatments, or a combination of different procedures.
Cancer surgery involves cutting the tumor out of the healthy tissue. This procedure is suitable for solid tumors that are located at only one site in the body, so that the affected person is cured after the operation. In order to check whether all cancer cells were caught during the operation and removed from the body, a safety margin of healthy tissue is cut out around the tumor. The tumor is then sent to the pathologist, who evaluates under the microscope whether there is enough safety margin to the diseased tissue at all edges.
In addition, during surgery, meticulous care is taken not to touch or even cut the cancerous tissue at all, otherwise the surgical instruments could become contaminated with tumor cells and the next time they touch another part of the body, a new tumor focus could be planted.
A sentinel lymph node biopsy is performed for tumors that, according to current medical knowledge, spread through the lymphatic channels. This means that the first lymph node in the lymphatic path of the tumor is examined to determine whether it is affected. If it is not affected, it can be assumed that the tumor has not spread. If it is affected, further diagnostics must be performed to find out the extent of tumor spread.
The most common tumors that are surgically removed are the Malignant melanoma (black skin cancer) , the Breast cancer and the Prostate cancer . All three forms of cancer are often solid tumors and have not spread when discovered, so they meet the criteria for cancer surgery.
The Chemotherapy is a method in which a drug is injected into the patient’s bloodstream. These chemotherapeutic agents are substances that damage the genetic material of cells and thus kill the cells. This is used in cancer therapy, because malignant cancer cells divide very quickly in contrast to normal tissue such as muscle cells or bone cells. Therefore, cancer cells often have to duplicate their genetic material and are thus the target of chemotherapeutic agents.
Chemotherapy is suitable for the treatment of cancers with many foci distributed over the body, as the whole body is reached via the bloodstream. Since chemotherapeutic agents damage all cells that divide rapidly, healthy tissues that have this property are also damaged. This includes u.a. Hair, nails, intestinal mucosa, skin. This explains the side effects of chemotherapies, namely u.a. hair loss, nausea, diarrhea, dry scaly skin.
Chemotherapy is mainly used for hemato-oncological diseases, i.e. blood cancer. Since blood cells in the bone marrow or lymph nodes degenerate and then divide rapidly, the diseased cells can be easily killed with chemotherapeutic agents.
The Radiotherapy Uses high-energy radiation targeted to tumor tissue. Radiation causes changes in the genetic material, and if the dose (energy per mass) is high enough, the damage is so great that the affected cells die as a result. Radiation can be directed at the tumor tissue either from the outside (percutaneous radiation) or from the inside, by introducing radiation sources in close proximity to the tumor. Radiation therapy proceeds in several sessions, because only cells that are in a certain cell cycle can be killed.
To catch all tumor cells, patients usually need 4-8 weeks of radiation 5 days per week. Radiation therapy is suitable for tumors that are located inside the body and are difficult to access for surgery. Radiation therapy is also used as an adjuvant therapy. This means that after surgery or chemotherapy, radiation therapy is given to destroy any remaining tumor cells.
Special radiotherapeutic procedures in which the radiation is delivered more precisely than with conventional devices are the Brachytherapy , Proton therapy and streotactic radiosurgery . Radiosurgery can replace surgery in some cases and is often compared to a scalpel.
Stem cell transplantation
This form of stem cell transplantation is used primarily in the treatment of the various forms of blood cancer. The medically exact term for this is "hematopoietic stem cell transplantation". It is not a cancer therapy in a direct sense. The stem cells are introduced after chemotherapy to replace the destroyed diseased hematopoietic tissue. In addition, the "donor versus recipient" effect is used here. The donor stem cells are in the majority and healthy and can thus "displace" the possible remaining diseased stem cells and thus completely defeat the blood cancer.
Treatment with Hyperthermia Is based on targeted heating of the body or individual parts of the body. This makes cancer cells more sensitive to the immune system, concomitant radiation treatment or chemotherapy. The aim of the various hyperthermia procedures is therefore to achieve a better effect for other cancer therapies and not to kill the cancer cells directly through the heat.
Even if cancer is no longer curable, palliative care can do much to improve the patient’s quality of life. The ultimate goal of palliative treatment is to relieve pain and treat distressing symptoms. This includes, for example, surgical removal of tumor to reduce the size of the tumor tissue and thus relieve the burden on neighboring tissue. In addition, radiation therapy can lead to an improved quality of life in the case of metastases in the lungs or bones.
Personalized cancer therapy: Who is it suitable for??
Personalized cancer therapy requires not only a choice of therapy based on tumor characteristics such as type and stage, but also a consideration of the patient. Factors such as age, weight, kidney and liver function, as well as biomarkers of the tumor, are taken into account in treatment planning. Not every tumor of a species is the same. Individual cancer therapy requires the cooperation of many medical disciplines, such as pathology, surgery, radiotherapy and oncology. Doctors from all major specialties meet in so-called tumor boards to discuss each patient individually and plan the further joint procedure.
Targeted cancer therapy
Targeted cancer therapy is the name given to treatments with drugs that specifically interfere with processes that are important for tumor growth. Since they are targeted to specific properties of the respective tumor cells, only cancer patients whose tumors have these properties can be treated with targeted drugs. Therefore, a precise determination of the cell properties of the tumor is carried out in advance. If the tumor does not match the drugs, targeted cancer therapy is out of the question. There are now many different of these modern cancer medications available. Especially in the case of lung cancer, malignant melanoma, CML and GIST, so-called targeted therapy.
The Immunoncology is also not a direct cancer therapy, but relies on strengthening the body’s own defenses. This is to increase the effect of chemotherapy and radiation and can open up a new perspective in the fight against different types of cancer. Through various strategies, cancer cells can present themselves as harmless to the immune system or even suppress the immune system. This allows the tumor to grow rapidly in the body and spread to other regions. Immuno-oncological therapies can activate the patient’s own natural killer cells and T-cells directed against cancer cells, so that they specifically attack the cancer cells.
Antibodies are an essential part of the immune defense system. They specifically recognize certain characteristics on pathogens, cells and foreign substances. This feature leads to Antibody therapy raises great hopes in the therapy of cancer in modern medicine. Because antibodies also recognize typical features on tumor cells, they target them and cause few side effects. Many monoclonal antibodies have already been approved as drugs and can now cure cancers that were considered hopeless just a few years ago.
The Tumor vaccination is a method of immuno-oncology and is therefore intended to activate the immune system so that tumor cells are specifically attacked. For this purpose, structures of the tumor cell are used and introduced into the body in a similar way to a protective vaccination. This causes an activation of the immune cells against exactly these tumor cell structures, so that a targeted immune response is induced.
Alternative cancer therapy : What to consider?
"Alternative medicine" is intended to provide a true counter to conventional medicine. Many supporters of this are even convinced that methods of conventional medicine are harmful. It should be expressly noted that alternative medicine is not subject to the rules of scientifically based medicine, nor is it subject to strict quality control, as is orthodox medicine. In many cases, there are no good therapy options (anymore) for cancer patients, z.B. because the tumor stage is already too far advanced. Disappointment and hopelessness lead sufferers to alternative medicine, which advertises with great promises that are not empirically proven.
Risks and side effects of tumor treatment
The general side effect of tumor treatment is the destruction of healthy cells. These are in chemotherapy the rapidly dividing cells such as skin, nails, intestinal mucosa. Radiation therapy often damages cells that are in the radiation field, such as the skin over the tumor or adjacent tissue. During surgery, the general side effects of surgery occur, such as wound healing disorders and the usual side effects of anesthesia occur, such as e.B. Nausea.
Which doctors and clinics are specialists in the treatment of cancer?
In hospitals, all specialists come together in so-called tumor boards to discuss the therapy and further procedure of common patients and to find the best individual solution. The specialists of the respective organ affected are primarily responsible for the cancer. For the therapy execution is then handed over to a specialist in radiotherapy or surgery. Pathologists, radiologists and nuclear medicine specialists are involved in the diagnosis and assessment of the extent of the tumor.