Radiation Therapy; What to Expect
Cancer has become a worldwide disaster, claiming millions of lives. Breast cancer leads the list, followed by lung and colon cancer. Cancer results from various factors, including genetics, smoking, unhealthy lifestyles, and chronic infections. Though deadly, cancer is treatable, especially when detected in its early stages. Regular cancer screenings can help you discover cancer early, allowing you to have successful treatments. The radiation oncologist Phoenix specialist is here to provide cancer treatment and restore your health. Here we look at what radiation entails in cancer treatment.
Before radiation therapy
It begins with a consultation visit, where your radiation oncologist analyzes your pathology reports and health records and performs a physical exam. They discuss the risks and benefits of radiation therapy.
Your radiation therapy team plans your treatment, a process known as simulation. It includes CT scans or X-rays of the treatment area with the tumor. Your provider may use a contrast material, including dye or barium, to make the organs visible. The scans and X-rays help map the treatment area or the tumor. The next step includes marking or tattooing the skin to line the same treatment region. It allows your radiation oncologist to place you in the same way during treatments. Your provider also finds and records your suitable body positioning during treatment. They may use molds and masks to enhance your body position. The last step involves creating your treatment plan.
The treatment process
Radiation therapy involves using high-energy waves or particles, including electron beams or gamma rays, to damage cancer cells. Destroying cancer cells blocks them from spreading, growing, or even dividing. It’s specific to the treatment area, unlike chemotherapy which exposes the entire body. Your provider communicates with you throughout the process. You can resume your daily activities following the treatment. It’s advisable to have someone come with you for the treatment. The length of the treatment varies, depending on your specific issue.
The side effects
Besides destroying cancer cells, radiation therapy may harm normal cells, causing issues. The side effects may last from a few weeks to months. The effects differ depending on the location of the treatment area. You may experience fatigue, hair loss, skin irritation, and loss of appetite. Some side effects are permanent. It’s critical to discuss with your radiation oncologist on the possible side effects before the treatment. It helps you in making your preferred treatment choices.
Radiation therapy is part of the treatment for various types of cancer. You may benefit from radiation alone, or your provider may combine it with other treatments to cure your cancer. However, most patients only require radiation therapy. Your provider may use radiation and surgery simultaneously or use radiation with anticancer drugs. Even when there is no cure for cancer, it provides some relief. Contact Arizona Center for Cancer Care today for a consultation and understand what radiation therapy involves.