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Cancer Treatment in India

What is Cancer?

Cancer is a medical term used to refer any one of a large number of diseases, characterized by the development of abnormal cells. Diseased cells grow and divide uncontrollably. They have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue. The disease also has the ability to spread throughout your body by the means of lymph systems and blood. Cancer cannot be specifically regarded as one disease rather it is made up of many diseases.

More than 100 types of cancers exist and are there that are named after the type of cell or organ from where they originate. The types of cancer can be categorized into different groups. Some of the major categories are:

  • Carcinoma: It is referred to a category of cancer originating in the human body tissues, in the skin or the tissue of internal organs. It can be further categorized into different subtypes that include basal cell carcinoma, transitional carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Sarcoma: This category of cancer begins in fat, blood vessels, cartilage, bone, muscle or any other supportive or connective tissue, in cells outside the bone marrow.
  • Leukemia: This category of cancer originates in blood-forming tissue, which also includes bone marrow.
  • Myeloma and Lymphoma: This type of cancers starts from the cells of the immune system.
  • Germ cell tumor: This refers to cancers derived from pluripotent cells, most often presenting in the testicle or the ovary.
  • Blastoma: This category of cancers are derived from immature "predecessor" cells or embryonic tissue. Blastomas are more common in children than in older adults.

Causes of Cancer

Cancer is caused by changes (mutations) to the DNA within cells. The DNA inside a cell contains a set of instructions guiding the cell how to grow and divide. Any disruption in the instructions may allow a cell to become cancerous.

A gene mutation can instruct a healthy cell to:

  • Allow rapid growth. As cells grow and divide more rapidly, this creates many new cells that all have that same mutation.
  • Fail to stop uncontrolled cell growth. Normal cells know when to stop growing, so that you have just the right number of each type of cell. Cancer cells lose the control (tumor suppressor genes) that tell them when to stop growing. A alteration in a tumor suppressor gene allows cancer cells to continue growing.
  • Making mistakes when repairing DNA errors. DNA repair genes, look for errors in a cell's DNA and make required corrections. A mutation in a DNA repair gene may mean that other errors are not corrected, leading cells to become cancerous.

These mutations are the most common ones found in cancer. But many other gene mutations can contribute to causing cancer.

Gene mutations can occur for several reasons, for instance:

  • Gene mutations you are born with. You may be born with a genetic mutation that you have inherited from your parents. This type of mutation accounts for a small percentage of cancers.
  • Gene mutations that occur after birth. Most gene mutations occur after you are born and are not inherited. A number of forces can cause gene mutations, such as smoking, radiation, viruses, cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens), obesity, hormones, chronic inflammation and a lack of exercise.

Symptoms of Cancer

General signs and symptoms associated with, but not specific to cancer are:

  • Fatigue
  • Persistent cough
  • Lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Weight changes, including unintended loss or gain
  • Persistent, unexplained fevers or night sweats
  • Persistent indigestion or discomfort after eating
  • Changes in the skin, such as yellowing, darkening or redness, sores that won't heal, or changes to existing moles
  • Persistent, unexplained muscle or joint pain
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits

Stages of Cancer

Cancer is divided into 4 stages:

  • Stage 0: This stage means cancer 'in situ' that means 'in place'. These cancers do not spread to other parts of the body. They are located at their place from where they have started. In this stage, the cancer is possible to cure by completely removing the tumor with the help of a surgery.
  • Stage I: It is an early stage, the cancer is usually small and the tumor has not developed into the surrounding tissues. These types of cancers do not spread to different parts of the body or to the lymph nodes.
  • Stage II and III: These two stages define the large size of the tumors. These have grown deep inside the surrounding tissues. This stage shows that the cancer has spread only to lymph nodes and not to the different parts of the body.
  • Stage IV: This stage indicates that the cancer or tumor has spread to different parts of the body. It is also known as metastatic or advanced cancer.

Cancer Treatment Options

A number of options are available for treating cancer. These treatments depend on location in the body, stage, type and extent of the cancer. The most common therapies are

  • Surgery: Surgical removal of the tumor, if it is limited to its origin site. Also lymph nodes and nearby tissue can also be removed by the means of surgery. This surgical procedure can either use laser or conventional instruments.
  • Radiation Therapy: In this therapy, cancer and certain diseases are treated with ionizing radiation. The cancer cells and their genetic substance are destroyed by ionizing radiation in the area being treated. This therapy makes it impossible for these cells to grow further.
  • Hormone Therapy: This treatment use hormones, for changing the way hormones helps the cancer grow in the body. This therapy is mostly used in breast cancer and prostate cancer.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer drug cells. These drugs help in destroying the cancer cells by stopping multiplication or growth at a certain point in their life cycles. These drugs are given by injecting into a muscle, applied to the skin, by mouth (orally) or into the vein (intravenously). This depends on the drug and also on the cancer type. This therapy is usually provided in cycles of alternating treatments and rest periods.
  • Biological Therapy (Immunotherapy): This therapy indirectly or directly uses the immune system of the body in order to fight cancer. This therapy also reduces the side effects that have developed due to some other cancer treatments.
  • Stem cell transplant: Stem cell transplant is also known as bone marrow transplant. Bone marrow is the material inside the bones that makes blood cells from blood stem cells. A stem cell transplant can use your own stem cells or stem cells from a donor. New stem cells grow into mature disease-free cells.

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Crystal Hospital Building, Maratha Colony, Wamanrao Sawant Road,
Dahisar (East), Mumbai-400068, India.
Mobile :+91-9892687120