What is Radiation therapy?
Radiation therapy is one of the type of treatment for cancer. In radiation therapy,
high doses of radioactive substances or high doses of radiation are used to
destroy the cancer growing cells as well as to reduce the growing tumors. Beams
of intense energy are used in this type of treatment like X-rays or use of protons.
How Radiation therapy works
This type of treatment does not kill the cancer growing cells instantly, rather,
weeks or months of treatment is required to harm the cells as DNA of the patient
gets directly affected in this medication. Slowly and gradually the cancer cells
keep on dying inside the body and then they get removed. The cancerous cells
keep on declining over a period of time even after the radiation therapy is
Types of Radiation Therapy
The type of radiation therapy to be used is dependent on many aspects like the
age of patient, their medical condition and general health, type of cancer they are
suffering from, size and location of the tumor inside their body. On this basis
following are the therapies:
External radiation : It uses a machine form which high energy rays are generated
which are passed into the specific part of the body which suffers from cancer. This
radiation is available outright at the hospital or the particular treatment center.
This therapy is continued over few weeks or months.
Internal radiation : Internal radiation therapy or a brachytherapy is such type of
medication where in a radiation substance or element is positioned in the body
and kept there over a period of time and then removed. Certain precautionary
measures need to be followed for this kind. Of course, this depends upon the type
of cancer a patient is suffering.
Systematic radiation : In this type of therapy, radioactive drugs are given orally or
passed into the blood through veins for treatment of some types of cancer. Some
protective steps have to be followed during this type of treatment.
Side effects of Radiation Therapy:
Radiation therapy is an effective way to treat cancer. During this remedy the
cancer cells inside the body get destroyed, but, this action may also adversely
affect the healthy cells inside the body. This is completely dependent upon the
part of the body being treated. Also, the effects may last longer for some people
and for others they may be less rigid.
Some of the common issues faced by the patients include hair loss, skin
infections, vomiting, stress, mouth/throat problems, memory/concentration
problems, sleep problems and so on. The issues faced can be minimized by
following a healthy and disciplinary life with some restrictions on eating and
sleeping habits. The supervision and guidance from doctor is a must to get relief
from the issues.
There are some late side effects due to radiation therapy. These effects may not
show impact after the treatment, but, may take some time to show. Not all the
patients suffering from cancer and getting treatment may get the late side
effects. It totally depends upon the condition of the body to respond.
One may have a scar issue or with some individuals their lungs and heart may not
work as necessary. One may face bladder or fertility issues. Sometimes it may so
happen that a person may suffer from second cancer. It is an accepted fact that
treatment taken for recovering from one cancer type may give birth to a different