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Radiation Therapy for Cancer - Myths and Facts

Published on May 03, 2019   -  2 min read


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.

Radiation Therapy for Cancer - Myths and Facts

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:

  1. Teletherapy - Here, the radiation is delivered from a distance, usually 80 to100 cm.
  2. Brachytherapy - Here, the radiation is delivered from near the target area.

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.


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Last reviewed at:
03 May 2019  -  2 min read


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