Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, is a cancer treatment that uses controlled doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. The goal of radiation therapy is to reduce the size of the tumor, damage or destroy the cancer cells, and stop the tumor from growing or spreading. In some cases, it can also be used to relieve pain and other symptoms caused by cancer. Let’s take a closer look at how radiation therapy works and why it is used in treating cancer.
How Does Radiation Therapy Work?
Radiation therapy works by damaging or destroying the DNA within cancer cells so that they cannot reproduce or spread. It does this using high-energy X-rays, gamma rays, or protons that are targeted directly at the tumor site. When radiation enters the body it passes through normal tissue until it reaches the tumor site where it deposits energy that damages or destroys the DNA in the cancer cells. This prevents them from reproducing and spreading further.
Types of Radiation Therapy
The type of radiation therapy used depends on where in the body the cancer is located and what type of cancer it is. Common types of radiation therapy include external beam radiation (EBRT), brachytherapy (internal radiation), proton beam therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). Each type has its advantages and disadvantages depending on factors such as effectiveness, side effects, cost, convenience etc.
Uses for Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy is used in many different types of cancers including breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer etc. It can be used alone as a primary treatment option if needed or combined with other treatments such as chemotherapy or surgery to provide additional benefits such as a better chance of survival or reduced side effects from other treatments. In some cases, it may also be used in combination with immunotherapy to boost immune system responses against certain types of cancers.
Radiation therapy plays an important role in treating various types of cancers by targeting and killing off specific areas affected by tumors without harming healthy tissues nearby. Different types are available depending on individual needs such as effectiveness, convenience etc., but all have similar goals – to reduce tumor size, damage/destroy cancer cells and stop them from reproducing further. If you have been diagnosed with any form of cancer then your doctor should discuss this treatment with you so you can make an informed decision about which option would best suit your needs.
What are the side effects of radiotherapy?
Radiotherapy has some side effects which can vary depending on the type and intensity of treatment. Common side effects include fatigue, nausea, skin irritation or discolouration in the affected area, hair loss in the vicinity of radiation beams and a low white blood cell count. Other more serious complications such as damage to vital organs and structures may occur in rare cases. It is important to discuss all potential risks associated with this treatment with your doctor before starting it.
What are some alternatives to radiotherapy?
While radiotherapy is an effective option for treating many forms of cancer, there are other treatments available as well. Surgery may be used if the tumor is localized and accessible enough for removal. Chemotherapy uses chemicals to target and kill cancer cells
How long does radiotherapy stay in your body?
The effects of radiation therapy on the body vary depending on the type of treatment and the dose administered. Most radiotherapy treatments are completed within a few weeks or months, however, some people may experience long-term side effects such as fatigue, skin changes, reduced fertility, lymphedema, and secondary cancer risk. It is important to discuss all potential risks associated with this treatment with your doctor before starting it.
How do you know if radiation therapy is working?
Radiation therapy is usually monitored with regular imaging tests such as CT scans and MRIs. Your doctor will use these to monitor the tumor and its response to treatment, looking out for changes in size or position. In some cases, doctors may also take blood samples to check for cancer markers that indicate whether the cancer is responding to radiation therapy.
What are the long-term side effects of radiotherapy?
The most common long-term side effects of radiation therapy include fatigue, skin changes (such as redness, dryness, or itching), reduced fertility, lymphedema (swelling caused by a buildup of lymph fluid), and secondary cancer risk. It is important to discuss all potential risks associated with this treatment with your doctor