Radiation therapy It helps treat cancer by applying a high-energy beam to destroy malignant cells. Doctors also use radiation therapy to treat some non-cancerous (benign) tumors. In most cases, radiologists use x-rays, protons, and other forms of energy to target cancer cells.
What is radiation therapy? How does it work?
Whenever the doctor mentions “Radiation therapy,” It usually refers to an external beam irradiation technique to eliminate abnormal cells. This high-intensity beam is projected through a state-of-the-art machine located outside the body. It targets specific points on your body so that other areas are not affected by radiation.
In some cases, radiologists also use proximity radiation therapy. Proximity radiation therapy leaves an implant that emits radiation in the body.
The function of radiation therapy is to damage the genetic machinery of cells. It prevents further growth and division and ultimately shrinks the cancerous tumor. However, many adjacent cells can also be affected by radiation. This is why oncologists try to give radiation therapy as accurately as possible. They aim to damage the minimum number of healthy cells.
What is the type of radiation therapy?
Your doctor will determine the type of Radiation therapy For you depending on some conditions. They include:
• Cancer type
• Tumor location
• Tumor size
• Malignant tumor proximity to other important organs
• Your general health
• Simultaneous treatment (if any)
Based on the above conditions, there are two types of radiation therapy.
Extracorporeal radiation therapy
In this case, the machine emits a radiation beam from outside the body. We are aiming for malignant tumors from various angles. Radiation therapy equipment uses computer programs to study detailed images and reduce the size of tumors. It helps to focus radiation on specific points in the body, maximizing efficiency and minimizing unintended damage to healthy cells.
External beam Radiation therapy One session takes about 30 minutes to an hour. Oncologists make the most of this time to determine the best location to emit radiation. Doctors take the utmost precautions before starting treatment, as miscalculations can cause significant damage to surrounding organs.
In most cases, you will need to go to the hospital several times a week for radiation therapy. However, this schedule may vary depending on the size, location, and type of tumor.
External beam Radiation therapy As it is a safe procedure, there is no risk of becoming radioactive during treatment. You can confidently mix with friends and family without transmitting radiation.
Internal radiation therapy
Inside Radiation therapy, Your doctor will introduce radiation-emitting compounds into your body in the form of solids or liquids. Doctors give this treatment via a liquid radioactive iodine-IV injection or as an ingestible radioactive capsule. Internal radiation therapy is also known as systemic treatment because of the presence of x-ray emitting compounds in the system. This is the preferred treatment for treating thyroid cancer.
Another radiation therapy option is called proximity radiation therapy and is available for the treatment of cancers of the neck, breast, head, eyes, cervix, endometrium, and prostate. With this treatment option, the radiologist introduces a small radioactive capsule via a catheter or applicator.
In rare cases, an oncologist may permanently transplant the radioactive material into the body. The dose of radiation diminishes over time, but fluids and organs continue to emit radiation for several days. Therefore, doctors advise you to stay in the hospital early in the treatment.
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When do doctors recommend radiation therapy?
Most patients suffering from all types of cancer Radiation therapy Eliminate malignant cells. It has also proven to be beneficial in the treatment of certain benign tumors. Oncologists advise this treatment for cancers of different stages and outcomes. They include:
• As a first-line treatment for cancer
• Reduce its size before tumor surgery (this is known as neoadjuvant therapy)
• Postoperative radiation therapy to prevent further growth of malignant cells
• As a combination therapy with chemotherapy to eliminate cancer cells
• In the advanced stage of cancerous growth to relieve existing symptoms
When should I see a radiation therapy doctor?
If you see any signs of early warning of cancer, such as unintentional weight loss, extreme fatigue, coughing, urine, or blood in your stool, see your doctor right away for the correct diagnosis. If the diagnostic test suggests cancer, an oncologist will guide you through an early treatment plan.If you know that your cancer is sensitive Radiation therapy, They disrupt the genetic machinery of malignant cells and prescribe it to eliminate cancer.
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How does radiation therapy affect the human body?
You may experience various side effects after experiencing Radiation therapy.. These adverse effects depend on the organs involved in the treatment and duration of X-ray exposure. However, these side effects are temporary and will not panic. Most of them disappear within a few months of the completion of radiation therapy.
This is a list of side effects you may experience based on the organs you receive Radiation therapy:
• All organs of the body
Patients complain of hair loss, skin irritation, and sunburn at the treatment site. Sometimes hair loss may be permanent. Some candidates also experience extreme fatigue during treatment.
• Head and neck
Radiation therapy to the head and neck can cause dry mouth, thickened saliva, stomatitis, nausea, and tooth decay. Some candidates even complain about dysphagia and changes in food taste during treatment.
Candidates for chest radiation therapy complain of coughing, shortness of breath, and difficulty swallowing.
Radiation therapy to the abdomen can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Radiation therapy in the pelvic area can cause diarrhea, pollakiuria, sexual dysfunction, and bladder inflammation.
How do you prepare for radiation therapy?
The medical team will have a thorough discussion with you regarding the procedure and results. Radiation therapy.. The preparation process includes:
• Radiation simulation
Radiation therapy simulations provide a guide for the medical team to choose the desired position on the table. You can ask for cushions so that you can conveniently stay still throughout the treatment process. Your radiologist will also mark the exact location of your body that receives x-rays.
• Scan planning
In most cases, oncologists advise computed tomography (CT) scans to determine the exact location and proper radiation dose.
What can you expect during radiation therapy?
On the day of radiation therapy, lie on the table in front of the machine, which emits a high-energy radiation beam. Focus from multiple angles to provide accurate radiation levels. Do not move any part of your body as long as the treatment continues. During operation, the machine makes a humming noise.
The medical team is in an adjacent room during treatment with audio and video connections. If you feel uncomfortable during treatment, please let your doctor know. You usually do not feel any pain during radiation therapy.
Finally, it is correct to say that radiation therapy is one of the most advanced and widespread cancer treatments. Remember to meet an oncologist for regular follow-up consultations after receiving treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Do I need to be hospitalized for radiation therapy?
No, extracorporeal radiation therapy can be given outpatiently. Oncologists usually prescribe it five days a week over a specific period of time. They have extended treatment over the weeks to support your recovery process. It helps the growth of healthy cells in the middle and minimizes side effects.
2. Can I breathe normally during radiation therapy?
You can usually breathe normally during a radiation therapy session. However, patients with breast and lung cancer may need to hold or hold their breath to maintain the efficiency of treatment.
3. Why should I not move during extracorporeal radiation therapy?
Do not move any part of your body during external beam irradiation. It may lead to radiation exposure to healthy body organs and undesired danger to those parts.
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