Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

VERIFIED CONTENTAuthor: Anna Tłustochowicz

Currently, radiotherapy (the so-called radiation treatment) is a safe and effective method of treating malignant neoplasms. It uses ionizing radiation to destroy cancer cells, which is similar to radiation from ordinary x-rays. However, there are various myths surrounding this treatment. So what is the truth about radiation therapy? Any doubts are dispelled by dr hab. n. med. Joanna Jońska-Gmyrek, head of the radiotherapy department at the Radom Cancer Center.

Radiotherapy is recommended as part of treatment in over 50% of patients. cancer patients. It can be used alone as a radical form of treatment or as a supplement to the treatment process. Usually, this type of treatment takes several weeks (approximately 5-8 weeks).

The effectiveness of radiotherapy depends on the histological type of the tumor and the tumor mass. This treatment method isvery effective in destroying very earlytumor lesions (even in radiation-refractory tumors).

6 things to know about radiotherapy

What else is worth knowing about radiotherapy? Together with a specialist in oncological radiotherapy fromdr hab. n. med. Joanna Jońska-Gmyrekwe deny false information about this method of treatment and present the facts!

1. Radiotherapy is a treatment method to fight almost all types of cancer - FACT

Apart from chemotherapy and surgery, radiotherapy is one of the three most important methods of cancer treatment. The indications for radiotherapy depend on the type and location of the cancer and the treatment regimen adopted. Radiotherapy is divided into:

  • radical- aims to cure the patient of skin cancer, esophageal cancer, laryngeal cancer, testicular cancer (seminoma), lymphoma and non-small cell lung cancer, among others.
  • complementary (adjuvant)- most often used after surgery to remove breast cancer in order to additionally eliminate cancer cells from the patient's body.
  • induction (neoadjuvant)- the patient undergoes this radiation therapy before actual surgery, e.g. for rectal cancer, to reduce both tumor size andthe likelihood of relapse.
  • palliative or symptomatic- it is used primarily to improve the quality of life of a patient with painful bone or brain metastases or lung cancer.
  • stereotaxic (SBS, SBRT)- is recognized as a unique method of treating neoplastic diseases and pathological changes. It involves the administration of one or more doses of radiation to the tumor area with a minimal amount of he althy tissue surrounding it.

2. Radiotherapy causes pain - myth

The radiotherapy treatment is painless. The irradiation procedure is similar to computed tomography or radiography (X-ray). In the course of treatment, the patient may struggle with various ailments, including pain in the event of the so-called acute radiation reaction. This is one of the most common side effects of radiation therapy, more specifically the local reaction of he althy tissues in the irradiated area. It can manifest itself, among other things, with changes in the color of the skin, angioma changes or hardening of the skin.

3. Radiotherapy can also damage he althy organs - MYTH

No, although it is possible that this may happen. Sick organs suffer with precisely designed radiation therapy. Radiation reactions may occur - they heal usually 2 weeks after the irradiation. Some reactions may last up to 3 months.

Read also: Skin during and after radiotherapy. How to take care of it?

4. Depressed mood is one of the side effects of radiation therapy - MYTH

Mental factors can be an undesirable event in many diseases, not only cancer. Worse mood is not a side effect of radiotherapy, which is one of the three most important cancer treatments.

5. A patient after radiotherapy is a threat to relatives, especially children and the elderly - MYTH

Currently, radiation therapy uses photons produced by generators of advanced equipment. The patient is irradiated in the so-called a bunker, that is, in a room with properly reinforced walls. After leaving it, the patient poses no threat to the environment.

6. After radiotherapy, you can give up your diet and return to normal nutrition - FACT

Return to normal nutrition is most often possible 4 weeks after the end of radiotherapy. However, in the case of irradiation of the tumor in the abdominal cavity and pelvis, it is worth staying on a diet. However, when irradiating neoplasms around the head and neck (tongue and esophagus), it is recommended to change the consistency of the meals served, i.e.mash, liquids.


Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!