When damaged cells die, the body breaks them down and removes them. Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses beams of intense energy to kill cancer cells. In most cases, radiation therapy uses x-rays, but protons or other types of energy can also be used. It can be used to treat many different types of cancer, and more than half of people with cancer will receive some type of radiation therapy.
For some types of cancer, radiation therapy alone is an effective treatment. Other types of cancer respond better to a combination of treatments. Radiation therapy can also be used to treat recurrent cancer and metastatic cancer. Recurrent cancer is cancer that comes back after treatment, while metastatic cancer is cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
Radiation therapy brings many benefits to today's cancer patients. It can diagnose, reduce and even kill tumors. New techniques allow doctors to better target radiation to protect healthy cells. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, your doctor may suggest that you get radiation therapy.
It is a common treatment that reduces the size of tumors and kills cancer cells, and it may be the only one needed to fight the disease. Your radiation oncologist can answer many of your questions if you are considering participating in a trial or contact the National Cancer Institute at 1-800-4-CANCER or www. Radiation oncologists help identify and treat any side effects that may occur due to radiation therapy. The American Cancer Society offers programs and services to help you during and after cancer treatment. During radiation therapy, your radiation oncologist and nurse will see you regularly to track your progress, assess if you are having any side effects, recommend treatments for those side effects (such as medications), and address any concerns you may have.
Before treatment, you will be asked to sign a consent form stating that your doctor has explained to you how radiation therapy can help, the possible risks, the type of radiation that will be used, and other treatment options. After receiving internal radiation therapy, your body or body fluids can emit radiation for a period of time, so you'll likely stay in a hospital and at first you'll need to avoid or limit visits to loved ones. During the simulation, the radiation oncologist and radiation therapist place you in the simulation machine in the exact position you will be in during the actual treatment. Specifically, it uses monoclonal antibodies, which are proteins that are attracted to very specific markers on the outside of cancer cells, to deliver radiation directly to tumors. The radiation therapy team carefully directs the radiation to reduce the dose to the normal tissue surrounding the tumor. If you undergo external-beam radiation therapy, you won't be radioactive after your treatment ends because the radiation doesn't stay in your body. They work closely with other cancer physicians, including medical oncologists and surgeons, and all members of the radiation oncology team. To help you in this process, below is a list of questions you may want to ask your radiation oncologist if you are considering radiation therapy: Unlike other cancer treatments that affect the whole body, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy is usually a local treatment. Other targeted therapies act more directly on cancer cells by blocking the action of molecules on the surface of cancer cells called growth factors. Radiation therapy takes days or weeks of treatment before DNA is damaged enough for cancer cells to die.
Then, cancer cells continue to die for weeks or months after radiation therapy ends. It is important to note that while radiation therapy can be an effective way to kill cancer cells and reduce tumors, it does not always completely eliminate them.