Most probably you heard about it before, and you might be wondering about what is radiation therapy. It is one of the most common treatments in case of cancer, and while it can be used on its own, usually it is combined with other kinds of treatment, such as chemotherapy and surgery.
In case you are interested in what radiation therapy is it is very likely that you have seen some X-rays and you should know that in case of high doses the radiation can kill the cancerous cells and it is also able to shrink the tumors. More than half of all the cancer patients receive radiation therapy as part of their treatment.
When thinking about what radiation therapy is you should know that there are two different types: external radiation through external beam radiation and internal radiation that is also known as brachytherapy.
External radiation therapy
Now that you know what radiation therapy is you should know that it works just like regular X-ray. The difference is that these rays come from special machines like cobalt machines, linear accelerators or orthovoltage X-ray machines. The advantage is that it offers highly accurate results.
When considering what is radiation therapy you should know that there two common rays used: x-ray and gamma rays. The use of these rays is regulated by state and federal laws.
Internal radiation therapy
External therapy is quite different from internal therapy and this is why when you ask what radiation therapy is there is no generic answer. In this case there is a radioactive substance placed near or into the cancerous cells in the body. These substances include cesium, iodine, or iridium.
We have to consider these implants when it comes to what is radiation therapy that require the patients to remain in the hospital for one day and they can be temporary or permanent. These implants can be placed within the tumor that is located in a cavity like the abdomen and in this case the implant is intracavitary.
It is also possible to place the implant in the cancerous area, known as interstitial or it can be taken by mouth or by injection.
As it has been mentioned, about 60% of all the cancer patients need radiation therapy, and this is why when asking what radiation therapy is people say that it is one of the most common treatments for cancer.
This kind of treatment can be used to cure the cancer or to relieve the symptoms. The majority of the patients that require radiation therapy will need the treatment four or five times a week and usually the treatment lasts for 5-7 weeks.
In case you are wondering what is radiation therapy you should also know about simulation. Before the therapy actually begins the doctor together with an oncologist plans your treatment and this stage is known as simulation. It is very important for the patients to be treated each time in the same way.
Many people are not exactly familiar with what is radiation therapy. The bottom line is that this therapy can be considered the oldest weapon against cancer and many people consider it as the more effective.