Radiation therapy is a commonly performed cancer treatment in many hospitals. During radiation therapy, an external beam of X-rays is used to kill cancer cells. These high-energy means are directed through a machine aiming at specific areas on your body, targeting cancerous cells.
Radiation therapy makes use of high-energy waves or particles like gamma rays, x-rays, protons or electron beams for destroying cancer cells.
Generally, body cells grow and divide normally to create new cells. However, if these cells begin to grow and divide faster than normal, they are likely to develop into cancer cells. To shrink these growing cancer cells, radiation therapy is used to make small breaks in DNA within the cells. Due to the breakage, these cancer cells stop growing and dividing and, ultimately, die. Even normal cells next to cancer cells may be affected by these radiations. But most of them can recover and get back to their normal condition.
While other treatments, including chemotherapy, are taken via mouth or injection, exposing the entire body to cancer combating drugs, the radiation therapy for cancer at RGCIRC is used for local treatment. So, it only targets the body part that specifically needs the treatment. The radiation therapy is intended to damage only the cancer cells without harming the nearby healthy cells.
Certain radiation treatments even use radioactive elements that are often given by mouth or in a vein. Although this radiation type travels throughout the patient’s body, the present radioactive element gets collected in place of the tumor without affecting other parts of the body.
Radiation therapy is used in three different ways:
The type of radiation treatment required for a patient depends on the type of cancer they have and where it’s located. In some cancer cases, more than one type of radiation therapy is used. It’s best to consult a professional radiation oncologist to know more about these procedures, their use and their effectiveness.
After your radiation treatment, you need to visit the hospital for regular follow up. During the follow-up process, your doctor will closely monitor you for treatment schedule while providing a specific dose for improving your overall health.
You even need to undergo certain imaging scans and tests to allow the doctor to observe how well your body has responded to the treatment. These tests and scans even indicate whether or not a patient needs further treatment.
In case you experience any radiation side effects, you need to consult your healthcare practitioner for the next appointment.