Radiation therapy is not new. It is an old concept, uses of which has increased in the past two decades. Its role in cancer management has grown from curative to palliative intent. However, there are still certain misconceptions regarding this therapy.
What Is Radiation Therapy?
These are high energy X-rays used to kill cancer cells. These powerful rays attack the DNA (the chemical inside the cell which contains the genetic information). After the attack, the damaged cells attempt to repair the damage, if the repair is successful, the cells live. But if the repair is not successful, the cells die.
What Are the Types of Radiation Therapy?
There are mainly two types of radiation therapy:
Both have their advantages and disadvantages and they are the weapons that are used depending upon the type of enemy.
The basic objective of radiation therapy or for that matter any treatment is maximum tumor kill and minimum side effects. With advances in cancer treatment, now it is feasible to achieve maximum tumor kill (>95 %) and keep side effects to a minimum. It is the latter that dictates the cost of treatment.
How Is Radiation Therapy Delivered?
Usually, it is a 5 to 6 weeks course, where the treatment is delivered five days or a week on an outpatient basis. Each session is of 15 to 20 minutes.
What Are Myths About Radiation Therapy?
Commons myths revolving around radiation therapy are:
What Is the Cost of Radiation Therapy?
The cost depends upon the technique used, but the effect of radiation is the same. However, it is the probability of side effects that vary, with latest advances, better sparing of the normal organs is possible. There are multiple charitable, governmental, and, private hospitals who render these expensive treatments affordable.
Last reviewed at:
03 May 2019 - 2 min read
Query: Hi doctor, 21 years ago, my friend had radiation therapy for a very small breast cancer. In the recent years, breast areola becomes dry. Biopsies revealed no cancer. She was followed closely by an oncologist and a dermatologist with number of tests. Recently, a mole appeared in the areola region. Th... Read Full »
Query: Hi doctor, I was diagnosed with T2 N2 nasopharynx cancer, a non-keratinizing disease. I had two chemotherapy and then had an MRI scan. There is no tumor in the nasal area. Do I need IMRT radiation? Read Full »
Query: Hi doctor,I have nose cancer, so I am going to get radiotherapy. The doctor said that the radiation might touch the eye, which may lead to loss of vision and eye removal. Is there any other way to prevent this? Please help. Read Full »
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