What is Radiation therapy?

Radiation Therapy is the use of high energy x-rays, protons or other energy that is externally used and directed onto cancer cells. Also, radiation therapy is the use of radioactive ions that can be put inside the body to kill off nearby cancer cells. There are two basic styles of Radiation Therapy that are the external radiation therapy and internal radiation therapy.

External Radiation Therapy is used by an outside source, such as a 3D CRT. 3D-CRT stands for (three dimensional conformal radiation therapy). The use of external radiation therapy can be helpful due to its ability to directly pinpoint and control the radiation onto cancer cells. External radiation therapy can also lower the chances of destroying healthy cells in the surrounding area of the cancer.

Internal Radiation Therapy also called brachytherapy is when a device is placed inside the body near the cancer site. This type of radiation therapy may be used to help control the growth and or shrink the cancer found within the body. The use of Internal Radiation Therapy may require a length of stay in the hospital depending on the dosage of radiation and the grade of cancer. Furthermore, the length of stay in the hospital will also depend on if the doctor prescribes a temporary or permanent internal radioactive device.

External and Internal Radiation Therapies are widely used with doctors to treat most cancers. Radiation therapy is one therapy that can be used on all the different types of cancers. About half of all cancer patients will receive a type of radiation therapy.
Radiation has the ultimate ability to destroy cancerous cells by stopping their growth.

A list of some of the radiation therapy side effects people may have include:

  • hair loss
  • fatigue
  • trouble swallowing
  • dry mouth
  • rashes
  • vomiting
  • nausea

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