How to deal with Cancer with Radiotherapy?

Radiotherapy is one of the main treatments in the world of cancer. It may be a supplement to the treatment or its basis. Here is the most important thing you need to know about radiotherapy.

With the development of medicine, the treatments for both malignant and benign tumors varied, and in this article we will address one of the internationally approved treatments, which is radiation therapy. What is radiotherapy? How does it work and what are the circumstances of its choice?

What is radiation therapy?

In fact, nearly half of people who suffer from cancer are treated today with radiation, some of whom are limited to treatment only, while others go to doctors in combination with other treatments such as chemists.

There are several types of radiation therapy:

  • Topical radiotherapy: It requires the cultivation of radiation seeds at the site of the tumor itself to in turn destroy the cancer cells.
  • External radiation therapy (modified and three-dimensional): they are two methods that depend on the individual design of each patient, during which the method of radiation beam interference is determined by creating a special template that suits the patient.

The most common type of radiation therapy is external beam radiation, as it is used for almost all cancers.

Radiotherapy: How is it and what are its symptoms?

When is radiation therapy chosen?

As we mentioned earlier, radiation therapy is often accompanied by other cancer treatments, such as surgical and chemotherapy.

The main goal of radiation therapy is to reduce the size of tumors and kill cancer cells, and while the rays may target healthy cells as well, it is not necessary to suffer damage to cancer, as healthy cells have the ability to revive themselves.

Radiotherapy may be chosen in each of the following cases:

  • Reducing certain symptoms of advanced stages of cancer
  • As a basic treatment for the elimination of tumors
  • In conjunction with other treatments (fighting the tumor internally and externally)
  • To shrink the tumor before surgery
  • To eliminate remaining cancerous cells after the surgery option.

Side effects and risks associated with radiotherapy

Regardless of the type of radiation therapy a person uses, the side effects are often the same. In terms of skin, the following changes may occur to it:

  • skin dryness
  • Redness and burning
  • Skin peeling
  • Sclerosis.

The rest of the side effects are related to the area of ​​the body that is being treated, but it may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Earache
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Impotence
  • Sore throat
  • swelling
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Difficulty passing urine.

According to previous research and experience, these side effects go away within two months of the last radiology session. But some effects may persist or even appear six months after the end of treatment. Late effects may include:

  • Oral problems
  • Lymphedema or swelling of the tissues
  • Sterility
  • New secondary cancer.

How is radiation therapy ready?

After the doctor determines that this treatment is the most appropriate method for this stage of your overall treatment course, the specialist doctor will determine for you the treatment plan, the appropriate dose or radiation package and its frequency.

After that, you will undergo a radiological simulation session, during which the conditions of treatment are simulated and a plan and a fixed template are prepared through which the beam beams are directed.

During the simulation session, you will undergo a CT or X-ray examination to determine the full extent of the tumor and to determine the radiation focus points.

How is radiation therapy performed?

Generally, one round of radiation therapy lasts 5 days a week for 10 weeks, while one session lasts about 10-30 minutes. While the number of treatment rounds varies according to the doctor’s plan for the size and location of the tumor.

During the session, you lie down on the radiotherapy table, and the medical team will install you in a position that exactly matches what was adopted during the simulation, by means of the template that the doctors previously prepared for you.

After lying down, a linear accelerator will be used to direct and project rays according to the coordinates that have been observed. The radiation machine may move around you and around the table and may be emitting, so in any case do not worry about that.

In principle, you should not feel pain during exposure to these rays and treatment, just as doctors will be near you, so be comfortable.

Follow-up treatment after radiotherapy

After undergoing a few treatment sessions, the doctor can compare the effect of doses on the tumor and on your general health, so you will pass a set of CT and radiographic imaging exams as well, then the doctor will tell you about your situation.

In the event that you suffer from the side effects of the treatment, tell your doctor about it and do not suffer from it on your own, as he may have some means to reduce it.