There are several treatment options that are available to patients after a cancer diagnosis has been received. Radiation therapy is an option for treating cancer, thyroid disease, non-cancerous growths, and blood disorders. The benefit of radiation therapy is that it can be confined to specific areas where the tumor is. It is targeted treatment that has a devastating effect on its target.
Whether your treatment is curative or palliative, radiation is an effective option. It is important to understand that although radiation therapy is used in treating cancer it is also used for treatment to certain inflammatory conditions and benign tumors. In this installment we will focus more on the application of radiation therapy as treatment for cancer.
Quick Facts on Radiation Therapy
- In order to stop cancer cells from growing and dividing, radiation therapy delivers intense energy waves to the targeted area. Not only does radiation therapy stop cancerous cells from growing, it works to kill cancerous cells, slow cancerous cells growth, and shrink cancerous tumors in order to allow surgical oncologists to remove left over tumor.
- There are side effects to any cancer treatment including radiation therapy. One of the biggest side effects of radiation is the effect it has to the healthy tissues surrounding the areas around the tumor. Treatment to healthy tissues is minimized as much as possible however this does not mean that it will be left unaffected. Most of the side effects to the healthy tissue or local to the area and are short term however other side effects like fatigue can occur throughout your body.
- In order to make sure that radiation is placed in the correct location, radiation therapy goes through a simulation process before it is actually administered to an actual patient.
Radiation Therapy Is…
A linear accelerator is the most common piece of equipment used to administer external beam radiation therapy. Linear accelerators deliver waves of energy in the treatment of cancerous and non-cancerous tumors. The form of radiation delivered using LINAC systems is known as ionizing radiation, a high-energy type of radiation. The radiation breaks up the DNA of the cells in a manner that disturbs their ability to cultivate, even causing complete destruction, death.
Radiation therapy can be used on its own or in combination with other forms of treating cancer such as chemotherapy. Only your cancer specialist can determine what option of treatment will be best for your specific type of cancer. Radiation therapy is used as a form of treatment in over 60% of patients that are being treated for cancer within the United States.
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