Radiation Oncology is a cancer treatment option that uses high energy X-Rays (called ionizing radiation) to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. About half of all people with cancer are treated with radiation therapy, either alone or in combination with other types of cancer treatments.
Our cancer care center and skilled oncologists offer world class radiation oncology treatment options (radiation therapy) to treat cancer patients.
Your doctor may suggest radiation therapy as an option at different times during your cancer treatment and for different reasons, including:
No. Even though the effects of radiation are powerful, the patient will not become permanently radioactive. External radiation therapy affects targeted cells only for a moment. By the time the patient leaves the treatment area, the patient will not be emitting any radiation. With internal radiation therapy, the patient's body may emit a small amount of radiation for a short time.
Radiation therapy can cause hair loss, but only in the area being treated with radiation. For example, if the patient receives treatment to the spine, the patient will not lose hair on their head. However, radiation to the patient's brain may cause the patient to lose some or all of the hair on their scalp. Most patients find that their hair grows back after the treatments are finished.
The most common side effects are fatigue, skin changes, and some loss of appetite. Other side effects are related to the treatment of specific areas such as hair loss following radiation treatment to the head. Fortunately, most side effects will go away in time and you can reduce the discomfort they cause. If you have a reaction that is particularly severe, the doctor may prescribe a break in your treatments or change the kind of treatment you're receiving. It is usually not desirable to interrupt a course of radiation therapy because the delay may decrease the treatment's effectiveness. Although unpleasant, most side effects are not serious and can be controlled with medication or diet. Tell your doctor, nurse, or radiation therapist about any side effects you notice so that they can help you treat the problems.
Radiation therapy treatments are usually given daily (5 days a week) over the course of 1-10 weeks, depending on your type of cancer and the treatments given.