Today, there are a number of ways to treat cancer including radiation therapy. Part of radiation oncology, radiation therapy involves the use of special equipment to generate high doses of radiation to shrink tumours and kill cancer cells. Each year, over hundred thousand Australians are diagnosed with cancer. According to radiation oncologists and other medics, radiation therapy can treat the cancer in more than half of the Australians diagnosed with the condition each year.
Radiation oncology in 2017 is all about making radiation therapy 100% successful in treating all types of cancer. In order to achieve that objective, radiation oncologists are working closely with surgeons, medical oncologists and other medics. To kill cancer cells, the radiation oncologists use regulated and carefully targeted doses of high-energy radiation. Radiation therapy is used for either treating cancer or easing cancer symptoms.
Radiation therapy for treating cancer
The primary reasons to use radiation therapy for cancer include stopping or slowing the growth of cancer, preventing the cancer from returning or simply curing the cancer.
Easing cancer symptoms
In addition to treating cancer, radiation therapy can treat pain and other problems caused by the condition.
In order to form new cells, most cells in the body grow and divide. The problem with cancer cells is that they seem to be doing this faster than the other cells around them. By making small breaks in the inside cells of the DNA, radiation helps to treat cancer. The breaks created by radiation prevent cancer cells from growing and diving. Often, radiation causes these cells to die. Radiation can affect nearby normal cells as well but the good thing is that the majority of these cells recover to function like before.
It is important for you to keep in mind that radiation therapy doesn’t kill cancer cells right away instead cancer cells start to die days or weeks after being treated with radiation and this process continues for several weeks or even months before ending. Although it shouldn’t happen, many people confuse radiation therapy with chemotherapy. Unlike the latter, radiation therapy is a localized treatment. This means the radiation therapy aims and affects only the part of the body being treated. Basically, radiation therapy looks to damage cancer cells without causing any harm to nearby normal cells.
Radiation therapy to treat cancer involves a number of people including radiation oncologist, radiation oncology nurse, medical radiation physicist, dosimetrist, and radiation therapy technologist. It is important to visit the doctor or specialist before using radiation therapy for cancer treatment. After reviewing medical records and performing medical tests, the doctor or specialist will inform the person seeking the treatment about the potential risks and benefits of radiation therapy. Additionally, the doctor or specialist will recommend the appropriate radiation therapy. To treat cancer, two types of radiation therapy are used: external beam radiation therapy and internal radiation therapy, commonly known as brachytherapy. Get in touch with us to find out how these two types of radiation therapy treat cancer.