Side effects come from damage to healthy cells and tissues near the treatment area. Radiation damages the stomach and intestines, blood vessels and bone marrow, which produce blood cells. Bone marrow damage reduces the number of disease-fighting white blood cells in the body. As a result, most people who die from radiation sickness die from infections or internal bleeding.
External radiation occurs when radiation comes from a source external to the body, he explains. The treated tissue does not continue to retain radiation after the end of the therapy session. Therefore, patients who receive external beam radiation should not worry about transmitting the radiation to their loved ones. But like too much of anything good, a radiation overdose can be catastrophic.
Since radiation kills cells, both cancerous and healthy, an overirradiated patient can suffer a series of frightening and excruciatingly painful effects. Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses intense energy beams to kill cancer cells. In most cases, radiation therapy uses x-rays, but protons or other types of energy can also be used. Cancer at an early stage usually doesn't kill you.
A great deal of effort is put into early diagnosis when treatment is likely to work best. During a different type of radiation treatment called brachytherapy (brachytherapy), radiation is applied inside the body. For example, in rare circumstances, a new cancer (second primary cancer) may develop that is different from the first one treated with radiation years later. External-beam radiation therapy is usually done with a linear accelerator, a machine that directs beams of high-energy radiation into the body.
The radiation oncology team will instruct patients receiving internal radiation on how long and in what situations it is OK for patients to be around other people. Radiation not only kills cancer cells, but it can also damage healthy cells in the glands that produce saliva and the moist lining of the mouth. After the planning process, the radiation therapy team decides what type of radiation and what dose you will receive based on the type and stage of the cancer, your general health, and treatment goals. Radiation sickness occurs when a large dose of high-energy radiation passes through the body and reaches internal organs.
Fox Chase Cancer Center offers a Women's Sexual and Menopausal Health Program and a Men's Sexual Health Program and an Erectile Dysfunction Clinic to help patients adapt to changes during and after cancer treatment. Coughing, often a symptom of the disease, can be caused by cancer treatment, especially radiation to the chest. If you are undergoing cancer treatment, you may be concerned about the effect chemotherapy and radiation may have on your loved ones and the people around you. The two most common types of cancer treatment that concern patients and their families are chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
During external beam radiation therapy, you are placed on a table and a large machine moves around you sending beams of radiation to precise points on your body. Before you undergo external beam radiation therapy, your health care team guides you through a planning process to ensure that the radiation reaches the precise point in your body where it is needed. The risk of throat changes depends on the amount of radiation you receive, whether you also receive chemotherapy, and whether you use tobacco and alcohol while receiving radiation therapy. A concern that many cancer patients and their families often have, says cancer care nurse Josette Snyder, BSN, MSN, AOCN.