Radiation Therapy For Cancer

Radiation Therapy For Cancer

Using ionized energy to kill cells, radiation therapy is used by half of all patients to treat cancer. Radiation kills cancer cells by damaging their genetic material beyond repair, causing them to breakdown and die. Both short- and long-term side effects, such as hair and memory loss, can occur when the therapy kills healthy cells. Different types of radiation exist. When a machine outside the body delivers it, it is called external-beam radiation therapy. If radioactive materials are placed inside the body, it is called internal radiation therapy, or brachytherapy. You can also receive an injection of radioactive iodine, which travels through the body to kill cancer cells, a treatment called systemic radiation therapy. When cancer cant be cured, radiation therapy can be used to shrink tumors to make life more comfortable for a patient. Doctors may use radiation treatments alone or in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy, which uses drugs to kill cancer cells.

Recently Answered

  • 1 Answer
    A
    A Radiation Oncology, answered on behalf of
    The cyber knife is a particular type of radiation delivery device. It's a linear accelerator mounted on the end of a robotic arm that allows an amazing amount of flexibility in how the machine can deliver radiation; it has the precision of a surgeon's scalpel. Cyber knife is often used when treating brain and prostate cancers. Its imaging and computer systems are so sophisticated that it can even be used for some lung cancers, guiding the radiation in while the person breathes and the lung tumor moves.

    Cyber knife's precision and focus often mean that treatment plans that traditionally lasted two months can now be reduced to four or five treatments and completed in less than one week. Doctors can be so specific with the radiation delivery that they can avoid nearby critical structures, keeping them from receiving a dangerous dose of radiation. This reduces the risk of both complications and side effects.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    A answered
    You may need radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells and shrink and possibly eliminate one or more tumors, to prevent a recurrence of cancer or to relieve symptoms of cancer. Radiation therapy uses high energy radiation to damage the DNA in cancer cells to make them stop dividing and die.

    Radiation therapy to treat cancer is given in one of three ways.
    • External beam radiation is given by a machine and aimed directly at the cancer through the skin.
    • Internal radiation involves surgically placing a radioactive implant near the tumor in the body.
    • Systemic radiation uses radioactive drugs that are taken by mouth or injected into the bloodstream, where they travel throughout the body.
    In some treatment regimens, radiation therapy is combined with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and surgery, to increase odds of survival.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    A Radiation Oncology, answered on behalf of
    Is Recovery Time from the CyberKnife any different from Traditional Radiation Therapy?
    Recovery from CyberKnife treatment has fewer side effects compared to conventional treatment, says Afshin Rashtian, MD, of Riverside Community Hospital. Watch him describe what cancer patients can expect after radiation therapy.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    A Radiation Oncology, answered on behalf of
    When Is CyberKnife Therapy Preferable Over Traditional Radiation Therapy?
    Not every situation will call for CyberKnife therapy, but it can treat various disorders. Watch Afshin Rashtian, MD, of Riverside Community Hospital, explain how this therapy can be more effective and faster than traditional radiation therapy.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    A Radiation Oncology, answered on behalf of
    What Is CyberKnife Therapy?
    CyberKnife therapy uses a robotic arm to deliver high doses of radiation to a small area. In this video, Afshin Rashtian, MD, of Riverside Community Hospital, describes the benefits of this treatment type.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    A Radiation Oncology, answered on behalf of
    How Do You Prevent Radiation from Damaging Healthy Cells?
    Doctors avoid harming healthy tissue by deciding where to target radiation before cancer treatment. Watch Afshin Rashtian, MD, of Riverside Community Hospital, explain how normal tissue that receives radiation will still be able to survive it.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    A Radiation Oncology, answered on behalf of
    How Does Radiation Therapy Work?
    In radiation therapy, radiation is concentrated on a specific part of the body to kill cancer cells. Watch Afshin Rashtian, MD, of Riverside Community Hospital, explain how the therapy works.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    What Are Gamma Knife and CyberKnife Radiosurgery?
    Gamma knife and CyberKnife are two forms of radiosurgery for the brain, says Michael Seiff, MD, a neurosurgeon at Sunrise Hospital. In this video, he explains that radiosurgery is the use of many beams of radiation to target tumors.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    A Radiation Oncology, answered on behalf of
    Radiation therapy consistently decreases the risk for breast cancer recurrence by about 50% to 70%. This does not only affect local recurrence but also has a breast cancer-specific survival benefit. Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA of cancer cells, which is the genetic material that cancer itself uses to grow and divide. Cancer cells can’t repair that damage, so they die. Radiation therapy takes about 10 minutes a day, and a typical course of radiation is about six and a half weeks on average.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    A Radiation Oncology, answered on behalf of
    Breast radiation therapy is delivered daily, Monday to Friday, typically over approximately 6.5 weeks, but may be as short as 1 week or 3 weeks depending on your particular breast cancer. Radiation delivery takes approximately 10-15 minutes each day and you will be given a treatment time each day that is convenient for you. When you come for your daily radiation treatment, with the assistance of an expert team of radiation therapists, you will be positioned in the same position that you were in for simulation with your arms above your head supported by a cradle. You do see around you. The radiation treatment delivery itself lasts only few minutes. Radiation therapy delivery is painless. You won’t be able to see or feel the radiation beam. You will also not feel sick during or immediately afterwards. You are not radioactive and you will not be a danger to anyone during or after your course of radiation therapy.