Advanced therapy has made it possible to place the radiation only to the parts that need to be treated and this reduces exposure of healthy tissue to radiation.
Radiation Therapy is one of the crucial aspects of treating cancer for cure, control and managing pain related to the advanced cancer. However, it is not the only method. There are several factors that the oncologist will consider before prescribing Radiation Therapy to a patient such as:
However, there are several misconceptions about Radiation Therapy that need to be laid to rest. Here are a few:
#1 RADIATION THERAPY IS PAINFUL.
This is definitely NOT TRUE. Pain is a symptom of cancer and not Radiation Therapy. In fact, Radiation Therapy is used as a treatment to ease pain related to cancer.
#2 RADIATION THERAPY CAUSES SKIN BURNS
NOT ALWAYS, Practically never in modern radiation techniques. This depends on the body part that is targeted for radiation. The closer it is to the skin, the more chances for a skin reaction that can be mild to severe depending on the intensity of the treatment on tolerability of patient. Either way, the pain and peeling of skin gets resolved in a couples of weeks. Your oncologist will tell you to expect a skin reaction if it’s a possible side-effect.
#3 RADIATION THERAPY MAKES THE PERSON RADIOACTIVE
This is NOT TRUE when the radiation beam is external. Once the radiation ends, there is no radiation going on inside your body and hence you cannot affect those around you. However, if your treatment involves internal radiation precautions will need to be taken depending on whether the radioactive source placement is temporary or permanent. If it is temporary, radiation ends once the day’s treatment ends. Nobody around you are at risk of exposure. Even in the case of a permanent source, exposure outside the body is very low but you may be required to take certain precautions to ensure the safety of those around you.
#4 RADIATION THERAPY LEADS TO HAIR LOSS.
NOT ALWAYS. This is true only if the targeted region is your head. Men receiving radiation to their neck region might lose their facial hair. Those receiving radiation in the pelvis, may lose hair in the pubic region. There are possibilities of regrowth of hair when treating tumour which require low radiation doses.
#5 RADIATION THERAPY IS TARGETED AT THE ENTIRE BODY
This is NOT TRUE. Radiation is always targeted only at the affected region or the spot where the tumour exists. Advanced therapy has made it possible to place the radiation only to the parts that need to be treated and this reduces exposure of healthy tissue to radiation.
#6 RADIATION THERAPY CAUSES FATIGUE.
This is TRUE. Fatigue is one of the most common side-effects of radiotherapy. If the fatigue is intense it may interfere with your work schedule. However, most patients are able to carry on working in spite of the radiotherapy.
#7 RADIATION THERAPY CAUSES NAUSEA
This is not TRUE unless the radiation is targeted at the brain or the abdominal region. However, these side effects can be easily managed through medication.
The right kind of radiotherapy can be with right radiation equipment, right experts with adequate experience. It’s most important to find the best cancer hospital in your city – one that is dedicated to treating the disease, equipped with expert oncologists and updated technology. Discuss your condition, treatment options and side-effects with your doctor before treatment begins. Understand and educate yourself on how to prepare for treatment and keep your appointments, to make sure you make good progress in the fight against cancer.
In short, Radiation is a painless, bloodless, non – interventional procedure lasting few minutes daily as out-patient treatment.
SENIOR CONSULTANT – RADIATION ONCOLOGY
MBBS, MD R.T,