Radiation Therapy in India

Radiation therapy uses high energy radio waves to destroy cancerous cells and reduce their capacity to mutate. Radio waves can include X- rays, electron beams, protons or gamma rays. Radiation therapy is a very common treatment for cancer. Other terms for radiation therapy are irradiation, X-ray therapy, or radiotherapy.

Radiation therapy is more often combined with other treatment methods like chemotherapy. Such conjunction can be more beneficial in killing cancerous cells. Also, there are certain drugs named as radio-synthesizers that make the cancer cells radio-sensitive. These drugs are used during radiotherapy to kill cancer cells more effectively. Hence, these combinations give better results.

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The primary purpose of a radiation therapy is to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells. Radiotherapy can be used in two ways:

The cells that fall on path of the radiation beams get damaged. Hence, both normal as well as cancer cells can get destroyed in the radiation therapy process. Although, radiation affects cancer cells more than the normal cells. This is because, cancer cells do not grow and multiply in an organized manner. So, if these cells are subjected to radiation, it is harder for them to repair the damage caused. The healthy cells can repair themselves better and survive the treatment.

If beads are used to pass radiations, they are lodged onto the site of cancer first, then the radiations are passed. This affects lesser healthy cells present at that site.

Before performing a radiotherapy, your doctor will determine the amount of dosage for the type and stage of cancer you have. He/she will also determine the frequency that should be used for the same.

During the radiotherapy treatment, you will have to lie down on the table. You will be asked to sleep in certain position so that the doctor gets the best angle for targeting radiation beams into your body. Once the best angle is obtained, your doctor will make a small mark in that section of your body. Other parts of your body will be covered with some shields to protect them from unnecessary radiations. Radiation is passed through your body using different angles. This requires around 10 minutes to half an hour depending upon the size of cancer.

Radiotherapy is conducted five times a week for about 10 weeks. Each session as well as the entire treatment may vary according to the method used and the type, size and stage of cancer being treated.

After the treatments, you doctor will conduct some imaging test to ensure how well the treatment is working. This will let your doctor know if there are any changes needed in your treatment. It will also show if there are any side effects caused. Doctor will provide you will certain medications to deal with side effects. More often those side effects go away as soon as you complete your entire treatment.

Patients can discuss all the necessary information of radiation therapy with their health care providers. Any queries or doubts must be resolved by your doctor well before going for the treatment.

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