Radiation

What is it?

 

Radiation is a common type of cancer treatment. It is a therapy that uses beams of high-levels of energy, such as x-rays or protons, to kill the cancer cells. Usually the energy is coming from a machine that directs the beams to the specific area in the body where the cancer is present, however it can kill both cancerous and healthy tissue. The overall goal of radiation therapy is to avoid damaging as much healthy tissue as possible, so careful planning will go into place using CT scanners to test beams before using actual radiation.

 

Radiation is used on almost half of all cancer patients who require treatment because of the success it has in fighting cancer.

 

How does it work?

 

Radiation can be used in a few ways for your cancer treatment depending on your specific case.

 

  • radiation can be used as the only treatment needed to get rid of your cancer
  • radiation can be used in combination with chemotherapy to boost the effectiveness of both treatments
  • radiation can be used in combination with surgery by undergoing radiation before surgery to shrink the tumor so it's easier to remove surgically
  • radiation can be used in combination with surgery by undergoing radiation after surgery to kill off any remaining cancer cells in the body

 

While radiation is primarly done with beams outside the body, in some circumstances doctors will also use a different type of radiation therapy in which the radition is placed inside the body. This is called brachytherapy is usually done with tiny beads containing radiation that are inserted into the area of the tumor from minutes up to days. Radition technology is developing all the time and there are many other different methods of radiation that you should ask your doctor about for the best treatment and the least amount of risk.

 

Will it have negative side effects?

 

The main side effects you might experience due to radiation will depend on which area of the body is receiving the treatment, or which area of the body that the cancer is located.

 

Head

If radiation is targeting a place on the head you might have dry mouth, trouble swallowing, thicker spit/saliva, sore throat, mouth sores, nausea, tooth decay and you might taste things in a different way.

 

Chest

Radiation in the chest may cause trouble swallowing, a cough and shortness of breath.

 

Abdomen

If radiation is targetting your torso you may have nausea and vomitting as well as diarrhea.

 

Pelvis

Similarly, with radiation in the pelvic region diarrhea, trouble or frequent peeing, and trouble with sex.

 

In all cases...

In any area of the body that receives radiation, you might experience hair loss and skin irritation at the treatment site as well as overall body fatigue.

 

Doctors will be able to help you manage these side effects, so it's important that you address your specific side effects with your team of professionals.

What is it?

 

Radiation is a common type of cancer treatment. It is a therapy that uses beams of high-levels of energy, such as x-rays or protons, to kill the cancer cells. Usually the energy is coming from a machine that directs the beams to the specific area in the body where the cancer is present, however it can kill both cancerous and healthy tissue. The overall goal of radiation therapy is to avoid damaging as much healthy tissue as possible, so careful planning will go into place using CT scanners to test beams before using actual radiation.

 

Radiation is used on almost half of all cancer patients who require treatment because of the success it has in fighting cancer.

 

How does it work?

 

Radiation can be used in a few ways for your cancer treatment depending on your specific case.

 

Radiation
  • radiation can be used as the only treatment needed to get rid of your cancer
  • radiation can be used in combination with chemotherapy to boost the effectiveness of both treatments
  • radiation can be used in combination with surgery by undergoing radiation before surgery to shrink the tumor so it's easier to remove surgically
  • radiation can be used in combination with surgery by undergoing radiation after surgery to kill off any remaining cancer cells in the body

 

While radiation is primarly done with beams outside the body, in some circumstances doctors will also use a different type of radiation therapy in which the radition is placed inside the body. This is called brachytherapy is usually done with tiny beads containing radiation that are inserted into the area of the tumor from minutes up to days. Radition technology is developing all the time and there are many other different methods of radiation that you should ask your doctor about for the best treatment and the least amount of risk.

 

Will it have negative side effects?

 

The main side effects you might experience due to radiation will depend on which area of the body is receiving the treatment, or which area of the body that the cancer is located.

 

Head

If radiation is targeting a place on the head you might have dry mouth, trouble swallowing, thicker spit/saliva, sore throat, mouth sores, nausea, tooth decay and you might taste things in a different way.

 

Chest

Radiation in the chest may cause trouble swallowing, a cough and shortness of breath.

 

Abdomen

If radiation is targetting your torso you may have nausea and vomitting as well as diarrhea.

 

Pelvis

Similarly, with radiation in the pelvic region diarrhea, trouble or frequent peeing, and trouble with sex.

 

In all cases...

In any area of the body that receives radiation, you might experience hair loss and skin irritation at the treatment site as well as overall body fatigue.

 

Doctors will be able to help you manage these side effects, so it's important that you address your specific side effects with your team of professionals.

Symptom list:

Radiation