If you or your loved ones have been diagnosed with cancer, you wouldn’t be a stranger to the radiation therapy treatment process.
After examination, if the doctor thinks that cancer can be treated with radiation, then you will be immediately referred to a radiation oncologist for further treatment. The oncologist assigned to you will work with the cancer specialists and the primary doctors to plan your radiation therapy.
Though the experts will take care of the procedures, you must understand how the therapy works and what precautions you must take for the treatment.
Radiation Therapy- An Overview
In general, radiation therapy is a type of treatment that uses radiation to shrink or destroy tumors and cancer cells. The therapy uses high-energy radiation to affect the cancer cells’ DNA to destroy their ability to grow and divide.
The radiation therapy treatment process involves multiple ways depending on the nature of cancer you are dealing with. Some of the common types of radiation therapy for cancer are:
- Internal Radiation Therapy
- External Beam Radiation
Again, based on the type of cancer, the size of the tumor, its location, and your general health, your doctor will advise you on choosing the right kind of therapy.
How Does It Work?
Radiation therapy works by extensively damaging the genetic material in the cancer cells. After the effect takes place, the cells will eventually not be able to spread or grow. As soon as these damaged cancer cells perish, your body will begin to eliminate them naturally.
It is essential to understand that even your regular cells can be affected by the radiation. However, these cells can repair themselves in a way that cancer cells cannot.
Once your doctor orders the radiation therapy, the radiation oncologist will come up with a plan to deliver the treatment only to the tumor and shield the normal cells as much as possible.
As radiation therapy can be used in different ways, you must discuss your options clearly with the oncologist before proceeding with the treatment.
Also, to experience the benefits of the therapy to the full extent, there are certain precautions you must take before and after the treatment.
What Precautions Should You Take?
Getting radiation therapy will indeed affect you and your family’s everyday life. And, taking the proper precautions during and after the treatment is imperative to feel better and improve your health in the long run.
Here are some general precautions you must take during the therapy.
- As your skin can be susceptible during radiation therapy, you must stick to a strict skincare regimen. Remember to be cautious with your skin and use doctor-approved creams for care after the treatment.
- If you have any side effects after the treatment, don’t hesitate to reach out to the doctor. It is because, sometimes, if the side effects are adverse, then the doctor will decide to adjust the treatment accordingly.
- Before signing up for the radiation therapy treatment process, talk to the doctor about your current medication schedule. Some medicines like mineral and vitamin supplements, ointments, and creams may affect how the treatment works.
To sum up, radiation therapy is a very common treatment for cancer. If you are referred for it, make sure to follow all the precautions and work with your doctor to determine the right treatment.