Several treatment options are available for cancer, and choosing the appropriate option depends on various factors. Some factors include cancer type, stage and grade, and if the cancer cells are localised or metastasised throughout the body. When radiotherapy is recommended, patients have various benefits.
In radiation therapy, a high concentration of energy kills cancer cells without destroying healthy cells. A radiation oncologist will prescribe the ideal radiation treatment for a patient after considering several factors. For instance, they will recommend treatment based on the tumour size. Your overall health condition and medical treatment also determine the type of radiotherapy. This can be used as a sole cancer treatment for shrinking tumours and killing cancer cells in the area.
Radiation therapy can also be used as an adjuvant cancer treatment in combination with other forms of treatment. For instance, a cancer patient with a tumour may undergo surgery to remove or shrink the mass and radiotherapy is used to kill the remaining cancer cells. You can have chemotherapy and radiotherapy simultaneously or in succession. Radiation therapy is also used in palliative care to keep you comfortable. For instance, it can shrink tumours that are too risky to operate on and are causing excruciating pain. A tumour growing near the throat can prevent a patient from eating or drinking and isn’t operable. You can get more information on this blog on radiotherapy.
The type of radiotherapy determines the procedure for the treatment. For instance, external beam radiation therapy involves using linear acceleration to deliver high energy to cancer cells. In the treatment, a patient receives low doses of radiation over a specified period. The patient will likely undergo the treatment five days a week with two days break for cell recovery. Before the treatment, the oncologist takes CT or MRI scans to determine the positions of the cancer cells.
With internal radiation therapy, the oncologist will implant radioactive sources near the tumour or into the body cavity. The radiation is contained in seeds injected into the body through catheters. The seeds give off radiation energy that will kill the cancer cells.
Some of the benefits of radiotherapy treatment include the following:
• It can shrink or cure early-stage cancer: Some cancers are shrunk with radiation before surgery since the radiation energy can kill the cancer cells. Using radiotherapy also kills any cancer cells reducing the chances of cancer recurring.
• Stops cancer cells in their tracks: The main challenge in cancer treatment is that cells spread to unaffected body parts. Upon diagnosis, some cancer cells may have already spread throughout the body. When you use radiotherapy in cancer treatment, you prevent the cells from spreading.
• Treats advanced symptoms: When the cancer stage is advanced, and you cannot cure it, radiotherapy can reduce the pain. For instance, radiation can shrink tumours that cause bowel blockages, breathing difficulty, and pain. While radiation can treat recurring cancer, you may not treat the same parts with radiotherapy for a second time.
• Outpatient treatment: Unlike other cancer therapies, radiation can be an outpatient treatment. That means you can maintain your daily routine and don’t have to stay in the hospital overnight.
When treating cancers or tumours using radiotherapy, you need to be aware of the possible risks and complications. For instance, you can be radioactive in internal radiotherapy treatment and have to be isolated. However, the advantage of radiation treatment improves your quality of life.