Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells through radiation. It can be used in the early stages or the later stages after spreading to various body parts. The doctors, after a thorough examination, would suggest the best one for you.
The procedures vary from persons to persons and different types of cancers. It might take several therapy sessions for you to get it done. You can read more here to know about the treatment process and its effects. You can’t predict the effects of radiotherapy, but you can expect a few things from the treatment, which are:
Goals of Radiation Therapy
Radiation treatments are usually given for five days a week for six to seven weeks. It can be used to cure cancer, make other treatments more effective such as chemotherapy, stop cancer from coming back, treat cancer if it has returned, and relieve symptoms if the cure is impossible.
Types of Radiation Therapy
There are two forms of radiation therapy – external beam and internal beam radiation therapy. External beam radiation therapy involves a special machine that emits a beam to a target area. It can also target deep within the body. Internal radiation therapy involves implants or introduces a radioactive substance into the body.
The source of radiation in this procedure is placed inside the body near the cancer cells. It can also involve drinking or injecting radioactive liquid into the body. Scientists have tried to develop treatment techniques so that one can receive effective outcomes with minimal health risk. You can read more here to get detailed information about the various types of radiation therapy and how they are administered.
How is Radiation Therapy Performed
Radiation breaks the DNA of cancer cells to disrupt their growth and function. This prevents and slows down the speed of cancerous cells in the body. The first appointment won’t include any actual therapy but a CT scan to help map and locate the treatment areas and plan your radiation therapy.
After that, the doctor would decide the right type of dosage and radiation. You may get radiation therapy before surgery to reduce the growing tumour size or after surgery to remove the remaining cancer cells present in your body.
The type of treatment you receive, the location of your cancer, and your health determine the side effects of radiotherapy. Radiation can damage the healthy cells along with the cancerous cells. Side effects can be short-term and long-term and may include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, hair loss, diarrhoea, etc.
Long-term side effects can include heart or lung problems, thyroid problems, hormonal changes, etc. Internal beam radiation might give you some soreness or tenderness, or you may experience fatigue.
External beam radiation might give you some changes in the skin and fatigue. In most cases, patients do not face any side effects at all in the initial treatment stages. Side effects may come up after several treatments.
It is quite normal to worry or get overwhelmed while thinking of undergoing radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is the most effective treatment for cancer after surgery. You will be taken care of by a trained medical team and healthcare professionals to give you the best possible experience. Finally, it is also necessary to follow special precautions at home when you are undergoing the treatment.
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