Testicular cancer was perhaps one of the most feared cancers of the 70s and 80s. However, advances in treatment meant that the prognosis of this disease changed from a 5 percent five-year survival rate to an 85 percent five-year survival rate. The drug that changed it all was cisplatin, a platinum-based drug. Chemically, it’s quite simple, consisting of two amines and two chlorines in a cross, with platinum in the middle. The cis bit refers to the placing of the two sets of groups-all it means is that they are next to each other, rather than being across from each other.
Basically, the drug triggers instant cell death in cancerous cells. That’s useful, although it can wipe out healthy cells as well, which means people end up feeling quite poorly as the drug works. However, it’s better than the alternative.
Since 1978, cisplatin has meant that those suffering from testicular cancer are no longer under a death sentence. The drug has spawned a number of related drugs, including oxaliplatin and carboplatin, both of which have been used to treat other cancers with a great deal of success. However, not every treatment for every cancer is successful.
Study on Pain
Pain has been a much-studied topic throughout history. Whether it’s trying to stick pointy things into people to make them reveal secrets or aiming to heal pain, people have long since worked to reduce and increase pain. Obviously we’ll be looking at the former.
Pain takes numerous forms, and there may not be an obvious reason for it. Occasional pain can be dealt with relatively easily-there are dozens of painkillers available. For mild pain, painkillers such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen can quickly deal with it. Sodium naproxen and codeine might be used for more severe pain.
However, for more serious long-term pain, we start to head into the world of narcotics. While codeine is a narcotic, it’s an over-the-counter narcotic, and it isn’t often abused, although the potential exists. Hydrocodone and oxycodone are often prescribed for long-term pain, and that’s when serious addiction can occur. Those taking morphine as well can also experience addiction problems.
However, when used very carefully, these medications allow those who suffer from chronic pain to experience a normal life pain-free. The use of extended release tablets, including extended release oxycodone and morphine sulfate, can really make a difference.
However, unless the cause of pain is identified and removed, it’s difficult to find an appropriate long-term solution. In the cases of certain cancers and other conditions, the emphasis is on management rather than cure.
HIV and AIDS
HIV and AIDS are often called the same thing, although that’s not entirely accurate. AIDS is the part where your immune system is fried, and HIV is the disease that causes this. While it has been highly publicized-in many cases to the point of paranoia-it’s not nearly as bad as it is made out.
The reason is AZT. AZT is a drug that prevents HIV from replicating. Viruses are parasites in many ways-they burrow into a cell and force that cell to make millions of copies of the virus. HIV does this relatively slowly, but it’s relentless. AZT prevents this process.
The prognosis for a patient with HIV has rapidly improved-particularly since AZT came off patent in 2005. The life expectancy for someone who has HIV is now in the 70s, and most people with HIV will not die as a result of the virus or the associated AIDS.
The continuous advances in drugs has meant that chronic and serious conditions have become less life-threatening. However, it’s important that these drugs are carefully monitored to ensure that they do not take over someone’s life.
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