Being told that you suffer from an incurable form of cancer or a terminal disease can be quite devastating. Medications and treatments may not be able to completely remove affected tissue or reverse the progression of disease. Medical advancements have enabled many people afflicted with non-curable diseases to live longer while managing symptoms of their illnesses. There are many such diseases for which scientists continue to seek a cure.
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Small Cell Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is a deadly disease in which the average survival is 2 to 4 months without treatment, says MedlinePlus. It states that 15 percent of lung cancers are of the small cell type. This type of lung cancer can rapidly spread and create havoc in the body.
Symptoms of small cell lung cancer include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing up blood, unintentional weight loss and chest pain. This type of lung cancer can also lead to a poor appetite, fever, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing and facial swelling. In some cases, it can lead to weakness and changes in the voice.
Small cell lung cancer typically occurs as a result of smoking.
Chemotherapy medications such as etopside, along with radiation treatment may help manage the symptoms of small cell lung cancer but does not cure it. MedlinePlus says that surgery only helps a few people as small cell lung cancer typically spreads by the time it is discovered.
Alzheimer's disease, also known as senile dementia, is a disease that affects the ability to think, remember and behave normally. According to MedlinePlus, death from Alzheimer's disease typically occurs due to infections or organ failure.
Signs of Alzheimer's disease include cognitive impairments such as forgetting conversations, names of relatives and having the inability to solve even minor problems. Other symptoms include getting lost on familiar paths, misplacing things and having personality changes. Over time, incontinence, swallowing problems, depression, agitation and violent behavior can ensue.
A family history, being female and experiencing head trauma are believed to be risks for the development of Alzheimer's disease. The cause of Alzheimer's disease is unknown, though genes and the environment may play a role, says MedlinePlus.
No cure exists for Alzheimer's disease but medications such as donezepil and memantine can be used to manage symptoms. Supplements such as vitamin B12 and herbs such as ginkgo biloba can also be used to manage symptoms.
The Mayo Clinic says that Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CKD) is a potentially fatal brain disease that appears to act like Alzheimer's disease.
Specific symptoms of this disease include trouble concentrating, personality changes, memory problems, social withdrawal, muscle spasms and a lack of coordination. CKD can also lead to trouble walking, hallucinations, blurry vision, blindness and a coma. Other possible effects include infections, respiratory failure and heart failure, says the Mayo Clinic.
There is no cure or effective treatment for CKD.