What Factors Are Affecting The Effect of Cancer Treatment?

Scarlett Zou

With social development and medical advances, people are living longer, but with that, many diseases are becoming more common, such as cancer. In 2020, there will be 19.3 million new cases of cancer and nearly 10 million deaths worldwide; and by 2040, the number of new cases is expected to reach 28.4 million, an increase of 47% from 2020.

Unlike common diseases such as colds and coughs, cancer is a more significant disease with a high mortality rate. Globally, cancer causes the second largest number of deaths after cardiovascular disease.

What factors can affect the effectiveness of cancer treatment?

The effectiveness of cancer treatment is influenced by a number of factors, such as the type and stage of cancer (how much it has spread in the body), the type of treatment, the characteristics of the cancer cells, and the lifestyle after treatment.

Types of cancer

Cancer is a general term for a group of diseases, not a single disease, but an umbrella term for hundreds of different diseases. The basic characteristic of these diseases is uncontrolled cell growth, but each type of cancer and each person's specific cancer is unique and has its own set of problems.

Some types of cancer can be treated with excellent results, such as breast, prostate and thyroid cancers where 5-year survival rates after treatment have been 90% or higher. Some cancers still have a high mortality rate, such as pancreatic cancer, which is known as the king of cancers, and still have a low survival rate.

Cancer Staging

Usually, the earlier a cancer is detected, the less likely it is to metastasize, and the better the treatment outcome. Early stage cancers have a higher remission rate than the same type of advanced cancer. For example, early stage breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, gastric cancer, prostate cancer, etc., are more likely to go into remission after surgery, or surgery combined with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted therapy or immunotherapy than the same type of advanced cancer.

Treatment modalities

Although with medical advances, cancer treatment modalities, including surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy, have also been developed and matured. The tolerance and response of cancer patients to different treatment modalities vary, and the treatment effect of cancer can be very different.

Tolerance refers to an adaptive state and result of the body's response to drugs. If cancer patients lack tolerance to effective treatment modalities or have poor overall health, treatment causes more side effects than treatment effects, which can also lead to poorer treatment outcomes.

In addition, for certain types of cancer, such as pancreatic cancer, there is still the dilemma of difficult surgery and lack of effective adjuvant treatment.

Cancer cell characteristics

The characteristics of cancer cells in patients with the same type of cancer can be very different, including the growth rate of cancer cells, invasive ability and sensitivity to drugs. The effectiveness of cancer treatment can also vary greatly depending on the characteristics of cancer cells.


Scientists believe that factors that can increase the risk of cancer may also promote the recurrence of cancer after treatment. If a healthy lifestyle is adopted after treatment, including healthy diet, regular exercise, smoking cessation and alcohol cessation, it will help prevent cancer recurrence, prolong the remission period and improve the survival rate.

Although cancer is still difficult to be completely cured, with the deepening of research and the development of medicine, people have more knowledge and understanding of cancer. Hopefully, in the near future, cancer will no longer be a phobic disease and people will be able to get better survival after treatment.

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Scarlett Zou
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