Radiotherapy for cancer, also known as radiation therapy for cancer, is one of the most common cancer treatments in which high doses of radiation with intense energy are used to destroy the DNA of cancer cells, thereby killing them and inhibiting their growth. Radiotherapy for cancer is useful for the treatment of almost all types of cancer whether primary or advanced. Radiotherapy can also be used to alleviate pain and discomfort caused by cancer cells in the body. It kills cancer cells while causing the least amount of harm to neighboring healthy cells.
External or internal beam therapy may be used by the radiation oncologist for the treatment of cancer. In external beam therapy, a linear accelerator is used which moves around the patient’s body. The machine transmits high-energy radiation to the specific body part, destroying the cancer cells. Radiation therapy for cancer course is usually spaced out over a period of a few weeks so your healthy cells have a chance to recover between treatments. During the therapy, patients will be lying still and breathing normally.
Internal beam therapy, also known as brachytherapy, involves putting the source of radiation inside the patient's body. The source can be sealed in wires, needles, capsules, or seeds and implanted directly into the cancer site or near it. It can be left inside on a temporary or permanent basis, depending on the type of cancer to be treated. Brachytherapy is commonly used for the treatment of breast, cervix, uterus, head and neck, eye, and prostate cancer.
A health care professional will help the patient walk through the process of preparation for undergoing radiation therapy for cancer. The planning may entail the following:
Patients will be provided with a follow-up procedure by their doctor post-radiotherapy for cancer treatment. Regular appointments may be scheduled to see the radiation oncologist. Additionally, a physical examination, CT scan, or other tests to measure how well cancer has responded to the therapy might also be required. Cancer may respond to the treatment instantly, or, in some cases, the response may be seen after a few weeks or months. Follow-up appointments allow you to talk about any issues or concerns that have arisen. It is important to keep up with the after-care procedure to check how recovery is going and also keep an eye out for any side effects which may not appear straight away.
Following are the possible risks associated with radiotherapy for cancer:
Other side-effects may include nausea, changes in blood count, dry mouth, sore throat, etc. The majority of adverse effects are manageable and will fade away after the treatment ends.
The path to recovery can be influenced by a lot of factors including age, type of cancer, and type of treatment. However, certain things can be taken care of to speed up the time of recovery. It is important to take proper rest, eat a nutritious diet, and keep yourself hydrated. The affected skin must be least exposed to sunlight and lotions to heal the skin can be used, but they must be approved by the oncologist. If one is under emotional distress, it is crucial to seek emotional support. There are professionals available online and offline to help with any mental health assistance.
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