While most radiation treatments only target specific groups of cancer cells, the effects of radiation can easily spread to nearby cells. Most recover within a few weeks, but some injuries develop later or require a longer recovery process. Some patients are concerned about the safety of radiation therapy. Although radiation therapy involves exposure to dangerous radioactive particles, it has been used to treat cancer safely for more than 100 years.
Many advances have been made that have led to safety regulations and checkpoints during treatment. Treatment centers must follow certain rules and regulations to keep patients, workers, and visitors safe. Being exposed to a lot of radiation for a short period of time, such as from a radiation emergency, can cause skin burns. It can also cause acute radiation syndrome (ARS or radiation sickness).
Symptoms of ARS include headache and diarrhea. Those symptoms will go away and the person will appear healthy for a while. But then they will get sick again. How quickly they get sick again, the symptoms they have, and how they get sick depend on the amount of radiation they have received.
In some cases, ARS causes death in the following days or weeks. During external-beam radiation therapy, a beam of radiation is directed through the skin to the cancer and the immediate surrounding area to destroy the main tumor and any nearby cancer cells. To minimize side effects, treatments are usually given five days a week, Monday through Friday, for several weeks. This allows doctors to get enough radiation in the body to kill cancer, while giving healthy cells time every day to recover.
With brachytherapy, you can receive a higher total dose of radiation in less time than is possible with external radiation therapy. Stereotactic radiation therapy is a technique that allows the radiation oncologist to precisely focus radiation beams to destroy certain types of tumors. Radiation therapy, or radiation therapy, is the use of several forms of radiation to treat cancer and other diseases safely and effectively. Your radiation oncologist monitors your daily treatment and may alter your radiation dose based on these observations.
Radiation oncologists have completed at least four years of college, four years of medical school, one year of training in general medicine, and four years of residency (specialty) in radiation oncology. This team is led by a radiation oncologist, a doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer. Although radiation therapy damages both healthy and cancer cells, the goal of radiation therapy is to kill as few healthy and normal cells as possible. Because it's low level, radiation usually doesn't travel much beyond the area being treated, so there's little chance of exposing others to radiation.
I have radiation fibrosis, heart damage (cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension, all heart valves leak and left ventricle enlargement) and a few other physical problems caused by radiation all those years ago. For example, you may be treated with radiation therapy before surgery to help reduce the size of the cancer and allow for less extensive surgery than would otherwise be needed; or you may be treated with radiation after surgery to destroy small amounts of cancer that may have been left behind. They will help prevent radiation from damaging healthy areas of the mouth, care for teeth, gums, and other tissues in the mouth, and may recommend preventive dental treatment before radiation. 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.
When radiation therapy may be helpful, a family doctor, surgeon, or medical oncologist (a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with medications) will refer patients to a radiation oncologist. After reviewing your medical tests, including CT scans, MRIs and positron emission tomography scans, and completing a thorough examination, the radiation oncologist will discuss with you the potential benefits and risks of radiation therapy and answer your questions. External-beam radiation therapy is usually done with a linear accelerator, a machine that directs beams of high-energy radiation into the body. .