Stage 4 Cancer Treatment in Germany
New cancer treatment methods have already made it possible to bring the survival rate of patients in the early stages to values approaching 100%. But the 4th stage of cancer, when the tumor has metastasized to other organs, is no longer a verdict or terminal stage. So what approaches can provide treatment of metastases, and in what cases is there a possibility of a complete cure for metastatic cancer? Let's find out more.
What is stage 4 cancer?
The fourth stage of cancer is diagnosed when the tumor process has already gone very far. It is also called metastatic cancer. A malignant tumor actively and uncontrollably spreads in the body, damages neighboring healthy organs, and forms metastases in distant organs. In stage four cancer, the primary neoplasm can be of any size: from 5-6 mm in neuroendocrine tumors of the gastrointestinal tract or melanoma and up to 10-30 cm in diameter in Ewing's tumor.
Why is cancer diagnosed already at stage 4? First, the symptoms of advanced cancer often do not differ from the early symptoms. In addition, each tumor is unique since each person is an individual.
The cells are separated from the tumor in the later stages of cancer. They travel through the bloodstream or lymphatic system and affect neighboring tissues. Uncontrolled growth of these cells and suppression of the immune system immediately begins.
How bad is stage 4 cancer?
Two or three years ago, metastatic cancer of any localization was considered practically incurable. Then, systemic chemotherapy with serious side effects and palliative radiation therapy to reduce pain is the minimum that the patient and his relatives could count.
The survival rate of patients with different types of cancer of the fourth stage varies markedly. For example, 6% of patients diagnosed with lung cancer can live for five years, and those who suffer from a stomach tumor have more chances (15-20% survive to five years). On the other hand, the worst prognosis is in liver and pancreatic cancer patients: only 3% can live five years.
However, the development of medicine has led to the development of technologies and various methods of treating one patient. Therefore, a well-chosen scheme will improve the quality of life and prolong it for years.
It is important to remember that stage 4 cancer is a controlled process today. With the help of antitumor treatment, it is successfully transferred to a chronic and sluggish process. That, in turn, makes it possible for patients to live up to a new and more effective treatment. Many years of experience with German oncologists on the question: "How long can you survive with stage 4 cancer?" allows them to answer: "For a long time," but only with timely and modern treatment.
Prognosis of survival in stage 4 cancer
The five-year survival rate estimates the prognosis for the fourth cancer stage. That is the percentage of patients who remain alive five years after they have been diagnosed with a malignant tumor.
The five–year survival rate is highest in the early stages. In some malignant tumors, it is close to 100%. With stage 4 cancer, this indicator is the lowest. But this does not mean that the patient is hopeless. It is essential to understand that:
- The 5-year survival rate is a statistical indicator. Logically, doctors can calculate the five-year survival rate only for patients diagnosed with cancer five years ago or more. The course of the same disease in different patients can vary greatly.
- Oncology is rapidly developing, and new, more and more effective treatment methods are emerging.
- Modern methods of treatment help to prolong life and ensure well-being.
It is best to ask the attending physician about the prognosis in each specific case. Only an oncologist who has worked with a patient for years can estimate the expected outcome.
The world's broadest study of cancer survival rates revealed significant differences between countries. For example, the rate ranges from 16% to 50% in Tunisia, Jordan, Indonesia, and Mongolia. Lung cancer is among the top three causes of cancer death in all regions. The mammary gland, colorectal cancer, and prostate gland are prominent.
However, in Canada, Austria, Belgium, Norway, and Germany, this figure reaches 90% (breast and prostate cancers have benefited from improved treatments and early detection). With its unique healthcare system, Germany has become one of the world's leading countries in cancer treatment.
Stage 4 Cancer Treatments in Germany
Some people with advanced cancer can live for months and years, but the prognosis is often not very good. Thus, the treatment aims to slow or stop cancer growth, relieve symptoms, and increase life expectancy. There are many methods specially developed for advanced oncology. In all clinics in Germany, doctors are doing everything possible to choose the most up-to-date treatment tactics, even in the most complex and neglected cases.
Treatment methods for stage 4 cancer in Germany
The best cancer clinics in Germany successfully use:
- Local chemotherapy (TACE, TACP). A particular drug is injected into an artery that feeds malignant neoplasms. The result is a double effect: the supply of oxygen to the tumor stops, and the chemotherapeutic drug accelerates the death of cancer cells.
- Ablation therapy. A special probe is inserted into the tumor under the control of computed tomography. Chemotherapeutic agents, radio waves, microwaves, and freeze destroy cancer during the procedure.
- Radioembolization. Small particles filled with the radioactive isotope yttrium Y-90 are placed in the blood vessels that feed the tumor. The drug blocks blood flow to cancer cells and delivers a high radiation dose without affecting normal tissues.
- Immunotherapy. Also known as immuno-oncology, it is a form of destruction of malignant neoplasms with the help of the patient's immune system.
- Dendritic cell cancer vaccine. The function of dendritic cells is to activate the immune system and present cancer cells. This method is safe and well-tolerated, even for treating fourth-stage cancer.
- Electrochemotherapy uses electric current to create pores in the membrane of cancer cells (coating). Due to this, the effect of chemotherapeutic agents is significantly enhanced. In addition, it allows us to achieve significant results at low doses.
- Hyperthermia is the so-called thermal therapy. The patient under general anesthesia is heated to 42.5–43 degrees in an electromagnetic field. That increases the effect of drugs by 3-5 times and suppresses the activity of tumors and stomach cancer metastases. Hyperthermia with chemotherapy prevents metastases in 45-48% of cases.
Successes and Prospects of Stage 4 Cancer Treatment
The most critical stage of treatment is adequate therapy of primary cancer. First, surgery, radiofrequency ablation, and radiosurgery remove the primary tumor. That makes it possible to avoid the appearance of new metastases.
The most effective treatment of metastases combines the efforts of high-tech methods. First of all, radiosurgery allows the destruction of metastasis without surgical intervention.
Cancer centers in Germany have experience treating breast cancer metastases in the brain, metastatic lung cancer, and other extracranial localizations (radiosurgery on a CyberKnife or a linear accelerator TrueBeam STx). The combination of radical techniques with chemo and, especially, targeted therapy allows patients to achieve better results than using each method separately.
For example, it is possible to surgically remove two or three extensive breast cancer metastases to the brain. Let's consider not only the cost of surgery but also the cost of care after surgery. Treating brain metastases with a Gamma knife is much safer, faster, and cheaper. In addition, the knowledge of a mammologist (as well as a surgeon of any other profile) of modern methods of stage 4 cancer treatment opens up new opportunities.
Treatment of advanced colorectal cancer in the liver has its characteristics. Removing the primary tumor and metastasis in a single operation is possible. But even in this approach, radiofrequency ablation is increasingly used as an alternative to surgery to remove part of cancer cells.
An integrated approach allows doctors to take control of 25-30% of cases. And with metastases of breast cancer, up to 80% of tumors are possible, according to various studies.
For immunotherapy, the immune system must recognize the tumor. Radiation therapy can help with it. When irradiated, tumor cells die. New proteins emerge from dead cells, the immune system recognizes them, and an immune response begins.
This approach has already successfully treated several diseases (lung cancer, bladder cancer). Therefore, it is expected that some of them will be registered as recommended treatment approaches soon.
Is Germany Only the Option? Advanced Cancer Treatment Places
Clinics in Germany for the Stage 4 Cancer Treatment
All the described new methods of treating stage 4 cancer combine with other approaches, giving simply stunning results. Furthermore, the website of AiroMedical presents the best cancer clinics in Germany, successfully practicing the proposed methods.
Rechts der Isar University Hospital in Munich
The clinic applies new methods and actively participates in clinical research and development of innovative oncology treatment areas. As a result, a unique combination of surgery, various forms of therapy, and stem cell transplantation are individually selected for each patient.
Helios Hospital Berlin-Buch
It has a laboratory for immunophenotyping and cytological and molecular genetic tests. The oncology treatment with all types of radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and stem cell transplantation is complex and adapted for each patient.
Goethe University Hospital Frankfurt-am-Main
It is a world-renowned center for allogeneic and autologous transplantation. In the context of transplantation, new immuno- and molecular therapy methods are being introduced.
Advanced oncology experts in Germany
Modern oncological treatment is carried out in the departments of clinics equipped with the latest world-class medical equipment. In addition, these divisions are represented by recognized experts in the field of oncology, the best cancer specialists in the world, whose authoritative opinion is critical and valuable.
Prof. Dr. Harald-Robert Bruch. The Head of the Department of Oncology and Hematology. He is a world-renowned scientist, a professor at many universities, and a holder of numerous qualifications. He is an authoritative expert on complex cases.
PD. Dr. med. Peter Reichardt is an oncologist with more than 35 years of experience and the Head of the Oncology Department at Sarcoma and Palliative Care Center. The doctor is a member of many scientific councils. In addition, he was invited to publish in specialized scientific journals as a medical expert.
Prof. Dr. med. Markus Gorshluter, the Department of Oncology. Under his leadership, the Department provides cancer care following the latest discoveries. It closely cooperates with interventional radiology and nuclear medicine methods.
End-Stage Cancer Treatment with AiroMedical
AiroMedical helps patients around the world to be treated for cancer. So why do people choose us? Because our experienced specialists are studying all modern research and new ways of treatment. Thanks to this, our patients receive medical care in the best clinics in the world. And modern technologies allow receiving remote consultations from the world's leading oncologists.
We are not intermediaries. We do not represent the interests of any clinics. So, the choice is based only on objective factors, such as the clinic's profile and location and the attending physician's qualifications and experience.
The company will help to get advice from the best specialists with a worldwide reputation. That will be the opinion of experts in research and clinical trials and future healthcare solutions. An individual approach, getting a second opinion, and considering all alternatives are reasonable steps to get the best results.
By choosing treatment in clinics in Germany, the patient makes a severe bet on recovery. Because it is in this country's cancer centers, frequent cases of complete cancer cure and the onset of prolonged remission have been noted for many years.
- MedicalNewsToday: What is the outlook for stage 4 cancer?
- National Cancer Control Indicators: 5-year relative survival from diagnosis
- Houston Methodist: When Should You Get a Second Opinion for Cancer?
- Cancer Research Institute: What Is Cancer Immunotherapy?
- BioMed Central: Research progress on dendritic cell vaccines in cancer immunotherapy
- Verywell Health: What Is Stage 4 Cancer?
- Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum: A largest worldwide study on cancer survival rates reveals dramatic differences – Germany among the leading countries worldwide