The Essential Guide to Cancer Treatments in Thailand

Medical tourism is gaining momentum in Thailand. Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases in medical history. A lot of people assume that chemotherapy is a possible cancer treatment. Very few are aware of the fact that there are different types of treatments available for different types of cancer. Also, the cancer treatment depends upon the stage of cancer as well.

It is vital to be aware of the different types of treatments along with the types of cancer it could treat and the possible side effects it might produce. 

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is the type of cancer treatment that deploys high-energy beams to kill the cancerous cell. This works by destroying the DNA structure of the cancer cell so that the cells stop dividing into several cells and eventually die. 

Once the DNA is broken down, it gets eliminated out of the body by a natural process. Types of radiation therapy are external beam radiation therapy, otherwise known as teletherapy, and internal radiation therapy, otherwise known as brachytherapy.

As the name suggests, external beam radiation therapy radiation is applied from outside to the patient’s body. Radiations like cobalt-60, voltage X-ray, and proton beam are generally used. Internal radiation therapy deploys the usage of radiation very close to the cancerous growth area. 

Reasons to prefer radiation therapy 

There are certain reasons why radiation therapy is preferred over others. The best ones are listed below.

  • Helps to shrink the growth of cancerous cell even before getting operated. 
  • To stop the multiplication of cancerous cells post-surgery. 
  • Quick and effective treatment 
  • Perfectly suited for advanced stages of cancer 
  • Can be used for the treatment of any type of cancer. 

What is the possible side effects radiation therapy could produce? 

The patient might experience certain side effects depending on the amount of radiation that is incident on the patient’s body.

  • Dry mouth 
  • Nausea 
  • Unable to smell and taste 
  • Difficulty in swallowing. 
  • Fatigue 
  • Irritation in the skin


This is one of the most commonly known types of treatment for cancer. This deploys the usage of aggressive drugs to destroy cancerous cells. The application of chemotherapy methods prevents the cancer cell from multiplying and spreading to every part of the human body. Generally, chemotherapy is used alongside radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and surgery. 

In most cases, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used as complementary methods of treatment. One could not clearly say if chemotherapy is better than radiation therapy and vice versa. There are different kinds of medical treatments used in chemotherapy. Various combinations of chemotherapy treatments are provided.

The chemotherapy methods are generally used for targeting the cancer cells better. The major reason behind this is the speed at which the cancer cells can multiply. 

One of the major disadvantages associated with the chemotherapy method is that the normal cells code also suffers severe damage from the chemotherapy methods. 

What are the side effects of chemotherapy methods? 

Not every patient who has undergone the chemotherapy method needs to suffer from the following side effects. However, some of the common types of side effects are:

  • Uneasiness and tiresome feeling even after years of treatment 
  • Some amount of permanent damage is done to the different organs in the body, like the kidney, heart, and lungs


This is a process by which the body’s immune system capacity is increased. The major reason why cancerous cells grow in the body is due to the lack of ability of the human body to develop immunity towards the growth of these cells. 

This is one of the widely growing types of treatment for cancer. There is a type of treatment in immunotherapy called gene therapy. This uses the T cells of the human body otherwise known as immune cells to destroy the growth of cancerous cells.

The T cells are extracted from the human body under the guidance of an oncologist and certain new genes are added by modification. When these modified T cells are injected into the human body, it kills the cancer cells. 

How can immunotherapy be deployed for the treatment of cancer?

There are ways by which immunotherapy is deployed. 

  • Intravenous injection
  • Oral treatment like capsules or pills
  • Topical treatment like creams applied onto the skin surface
  • Intra vesicle treatment that is applied directly onto the bladder

What are the possible side effects of immunotherapy? 

These are the possible side effects of immunotherapy. 

  • Flu
  • Sinus Congestion
  • Headache 
  • Reactions in skin 
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Gain in weight
  • Cough 
  • Hormonal changes

Hormone Therapy 

Hormone therapy is one of the latest forms of treatment of cancer. It is deployed alongside radiation therapy and chemotherapy. When the hormone function in your body gets modified, it helps in the treatment of cancer. Most types of cancer affecting women are treated by this method. 

What are the possible side effects of hormone treatment?

The possible side effects are listed below:

  • Changes to the structure of muscle and bones
  • Weight Gain 
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Tiredness
  • Blood clot 

 Stem cell transplant

The stem cells found in blood are transplanted which show is seen as one of the alternative methods to chemotherapy. This type of cancer treatment helps the bone marrow to produce new blood cells, which doesn’t prevent the regeneration of cancer cells. 

Any patient who has undergone stem cell therapy is given proper anti-viral treatments as well.

Proton therapy

It is one of the latest types of radiation therapy where protons are deployed instead of the usual x-rays. The proton is a particle found in the nucleus that has a positive charge. It can enter into a tissue to a certain depth. This completely depends on the energy of the proton beam.

The side effects of proton therapy are much less when compared to radiation therapy. Fatigue, Headache, Digestion problems are some of the possible side effects. Breast cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, and spine cancer are some of the types of cancer treated using proton therapy. 

Types of alternative medicine 

Once you’ve gotten treated for cancer, there could be certain side effects you would be suffering. Also, if the stage of cancer is at the very initial level, you could go for alternative medicine. 

Acupuncture is one of the best alternative medicines to relieve nausea. This could also be used as one of the best pain relievers. Aromatherapy incorporates the usage of sweet-smelling oils to provide a soothing and calming sensation. These oils are massaged directly onto the skin and also by releasing the scents of the oil into the air. 

Now that you are well aware of the different types of methods you could use for treating cancer, you need to consult a doctor before getting treated. Also, it is recommended to get quotes from two to three doctors before fixing one particular treatment for cancer.

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About Tami Baldwin

Tami has lived in Thailand for 10 years with her husband and two children working as an English teacher. She first used health insurance provided by her employer before discovering better options for herself and her family when searching independently for insurance plans. She now writes blogs and advice for ex-pats and tourists who are seeking insurance in Thailand.

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