Cancer (also called malignancy) is among the most frightening diseases known to man. It has no age, gender, or profession bias; it can affect absolutely anyone. With half of the male population and one-third of the female population expected to be diagnosed, it is even more important to dedicate time, money, and research to fighting this illness. Fortunately, there is a variety of treatments available, with one most accepted ones being radiation therapy.
Also called x-ray therapy or irradiation, radiation therapy is a popular cancer treatment that utilizes high-energy beams or particles – such as gamma rays, x-rays, protons, or electron beams – to eliminate or reduce the number of malignant cells in the body. It is an effective treatment for most of the common cancer types (such as breast, lung, and prostate cancer) and can be aimed at the direct location of the abnormal cells.
You can consult with your radiation therapy Denver CO physicians on whether to take radiation therapy alone or in conjunction with other treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy, for more effective results. In fact, some drugs are actually shown to be radiosensitizers, meaning they help increase the cancer cells’ vulnerability to the treatment. There are three different ways to administer radiation cancer treatment:
- Internal Radiation
- External Radiation
- Systemic Radiation
The kind of radiation method used will depend on your cancer’s severity and location in your body. Occasionally, physicians use more than one type if they believe that combining these techniques would deliver the best results.
Radiation therapy is a highly effective treatment that accounts for nearly 40% of all cancer cures worldwide. Researchers are constantly searching for ways to better their techniques, and its usage is becoming more prominent. Though every treatment has its disadvantages, compared to other treatments, the risks of irradiation are miniscule. Below are listed some of the benefits offered by this treatment:
- Is Useful As a Palliative Treatment
When the cancer is too advanced to be eliminated, radiation therapy can be used to alleviate pressure, pain, and other symptoms by shrinking the tumor.
- Prevents Recurrences
Irradiation is often used after surgery to remove any remaining cancer cells. It is also sometimes used before surgery to shrink tumors.
- Targets Specific Areas Treatment
As mention earlier, irradiation is directed to an exact location in the body, so damage to normal body cells is at a minimum
Before beginning your treatment, you be asked to sign a consent form, which will give your physician permission to treat you with radiation and to do the necessary tests to plan your treatment. Though consent form details vary, they typically state that your doctor has explained what type of radiation will be used, the possible risks, and the ways radiation therapy may benefit you. Signing means you have gotten this information, understood that there is no guarantee the treatment will work, and have accepted to be treated with radiation.