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Radiotherapy or radiation therapy is the use of high-energy rays in the treatment of cancer, some thyroid diseases, blood disorders, and noncancerous growths. It most commonly uses x-rays, but protons of other types of energy are also used. Radiation therapy can be given both externally and internally. In external radiotherapy, high-energy x-rays are aimed at the affected organ from outside, using a large machine. In internal radiotherapy, radioactive materials are placed inside the body, and the radiation is emitted from inside the body.
Radiotherapy works by destroying cancer and some normal cells in the affected area. But unlike cancer cells, the normal cells repair themselves after the therapy is over. Radiotherapy can be either used as a curative treatment or palliative treatment. When it is used to destroy the tumor and cure cancer, it is called curative radiation therapy. Sometimes, it is not possible to cure cancer, so it is used to relieve the symptoms or stop its further growth. In such a case, it is called palliative radiation therapy. Radiotherapy is usually used in combination with surgery and chemotherapy.
Depending on the type of cancer, radiotherapy can be used as the only treatment for cancer (primary), or to shrink the size of the tumor before surgery (neoadjuvant therapy) or to stop the growth of remaining cancer cells after surgery (adjuvant therapy). It is used to treat cancers of the breast, head, neck, cervix, eye, prostate, and thyroid. With the help of online healthcare platforms, it has become easy to consult experienced radiologists at any time from anywhere in the world. You can ask questions to doctors online and know more about how radiotherapy might be helpful to you.
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