Radiation Therapy - Treatment of cancer - MMHRC

Radiation Therapy – Treatment of cancer
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499 Views June 7, 2022

Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses beams of intense energy to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy most often uses X-rays. The term “radiation therapy” most often refers to external beam radiation therapy.

There are two forms of radiation therapy.

External beam radiation therapy

This is the most common type. It involves an external machine emitting a beam of radiation that targets the treatment area.

Different forms are available, depending on the need. High-energy beams, for example, can target cancer that is deeper within the body.

Internal radiation therapy

There are different types of internal radiation therapy. Both involve implanting or introducing a radioactive substance into the body.

How does it work?

Radiation therapy damages cells by destroying the genetic material that controls how cells grow and divide. While both healthy and cancerous cells are damaged by radiation therapy, the goal of radiation therapy is to destroy as few normal, healthy cells as possible. Normal cells can often repair much of the damage caused by radiation.

Radiation therapy is also useful in treating some noncancerous (benign) tumors.

Radiation therapy is offered at different times during cancer treatment and for different reasons, including:

  • As the only (primary) treatment for cancer
  • Before surgery, to shrink a cancerous tumour (neoadjuvant therapy)
  • After surgery, to stop the growth of any remaining cancer cells (adjuvant therapy)
  • In combination with other treatments, such as chemotherapy, to destroy cancer cells
  • In advanced cancer to alleviate symptoms caused by cancer.

Radiation therapy side effects depend on which part of your body is being exposed to radiation and how much radiation is used. You may experience no side effects, or you may experience several. Most side effects are temporary, can be controlled and generally disappear over time once treatment has ended.

In the last decade, Radiation therapy has become more advanced wherein there is very minimal normal tissue damage, which in turn reduces the side effects and results in a good quality of life. Such Radiation techniques are

  • IMRT: Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy.
  • IGRT: Image-guided Radiation Therapy.
  • VMAT: Volumetric modulated Radiation Therapy.
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery / Radiotherapy. (SRS/SRT)

These are specialised techniques to treat Brain lesion (Benign and Malignant). In these techniques, there is very minimal damage to the normal tissue. Treatment in these techniques is delivered in 1-5#.

Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy. (SBRT)

Stereotactic treatment for lesions in the Lung, Spine, Liver and Nodes. These are sophisticated techniques which are highly precise and has an accurate delivery of treatment. A number of seats with this treatment are 5-10 fractions. Liver lesions are best treated with this modality.

More than 70% of all people with cancer receive radiation therapy as part of their cancer treatment. Radiation therapy is used to treat just about every type of cancer in different situations.

Depending on the stage of the disease and the type of cancer. Some types are handled with surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy with a single treatment option, most of them are managed with two or three types of treatment. Cancer treatment is not like which is to be handled by a single Doctor or speciality, the treatment is planned by a team of Doctors and is tailor-made for each patient.

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