The total amount of radiation you’ll get is measured in units called Gray (Gy). Often the dose is expressed in centigray (cGy), which is one-hundredth of a Gray. For external radiation , the total dose is often divided into smaller doses (called fractions) that are typically given over a number of weeks.
What equipment is used? Radiation oncologists use linear accelerators or cobalt machines to deliver external beam therapy . Your radiation oncologist will determine the equipment most suited to your treatment. The linear accelerator is the most commonly used device for external beam therapy .
Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is a cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors . At low doses, radiation is used in x-rays to see inside your body, as with x-rays of your teeth or broken bones.
Most radiation therapy machines use photon beams. Photons are also used in x-rays, but x-rays use lower doses. Photon beams can reach tumors deep in the body. As they travel through the body, photon beams scatter little bits of radiation along their path.
Radiation therapy involves giving high doses of radiation beams directly into a tumor. The radiation beams change the DNA makeup of the tumor, causing it to shrink or die. This type of cancer treatment has fewer side effects than chemotherapy since it only targets one area of the body.
The most common early side effects are fatigue (feeling tired) and skin changes. Other early side effects usually are related to the area being treated , such as hair loss and mouth problems when radiation treatment is given to this area. Late side effects can take months or even years to develop.
In most instances, treatments are usually spread out over several weeks to allow your healthy cells to recover in between radiation therapy sessions . Expect each treatment session to last approximately 10 to 30 minutes.
Foods to avoid or reduce during radiation therapy include sodium (salt), added sugars, solid (saturated) fats, and an excess of alcohol. Some salt is needed in all diets . Your doctor or dietitian can recommend how much salt you should consume based on your medical history.
There are two kinds of radiation: non-ionizing radiation and ionizing radiation . Non-ionizing radiation has enough energy to move atoms in a molecule around or cause them to vibrate, but not enough to remove electrons from atoms. Examples of this kind of radiation are radio waves, visible light and microwaves.
Cancer survivors tend to have shorter telomeres than normal persons at the same age. This means that they are older than their actual years. It could be the intensive and toxic chemotherapy and radiation therapy that has led to this finding say researchers.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are both treatments for cancer – the uncontrolled growth and spread of cells to surrounding tissues. Chemotherapy, or “chemo,” uses special drugs to shrink or kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy , or “radiation,” kills these cells with high-energy beams such as X-rays or protons.
Treatment Areas and Possible Side Effects Fatigue . Hair loss . Nausea and vomiting. Skin changes. Headache. Blurry vision.
Radiation and chemotherapy often cause a decrease in appetite. They can also lead to side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and mouth sores, which can affect your ability to eat normally, further contributing to weight and muscle loss .
Early side effects, such as nausea and fatigue, usually don’t last long . They may start during or right after treatment and last for several weeks after it ends, but then they get better . Late side effects, such as lung or heart problems, may take years to show up and are often permanent when they do .
What are the disadvantages ? Radiotherapy can cause side effects, including tiredness, sickness and runny poo (diarrhoea). If you have chemoradiotherapy, you may get side effects from the chemotherapy.