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Refractory Cancer - An Overview

Kenneth D. Nahum

An alumnus of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Kenneth D. Nahum, DO, has been practicing medicine for upwards of 30 years. During that time, he has focused his work on the areas of oncology and hematology. Currently practicing at Regional Cancer Care Associates, LLC, in New Jersey, Dr. Kenneth D. Nahum has studied several types of refractory cancer.

Refractory cancer generally refers to conditions that don’t respond well to treatment and are resistant or unresponsive to such things as radiation therapy, surgery, or chemotherapy. This resistance can occur either at the beginning of treatment or may develop over the course of treatment. In either situation, physicians recommend patients undergo additional treatment forms, known as second- or third-line treatments, in an effort to find something to which the condition is not resistant.
Further, “refractory” is also used in the medical field to denote when a cancer is resistant to a particular type of treatment. For instance, cancer that is hormone-refractory is resistant to hormone therapy. This type of wording helps clinicians find effective treatment options for patients sooner rather than later.
Having to go through a more intense treatment regimen is often disheartening to patients. It’s common for these individuals to experience higher levels of anger, shock, fear, or disbelief when they are told their cancer is refractory. However, refractory cancer is not the same as untreatable cancer.

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