Radiation Therapy for Treatment of Cancer
Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy is considered to be an important tool to fight against cancer. During the therapy, high-energy rays are used on cancer cells and stop them from proliferating. In more than 50 per cent of cancer patients, this treatment is used. Radiation oncologist, a specialist in radiation therapy uses this important medical tool either alone or in conjunction with surgery, chemotherapy or other forms of cancer therapy for treatment of cancer patients. Radiation therapy is also termed as radiotherapy, x-ray therapy, electron beam therapy, cobalt therapy, or irradiation.
Cancer radiation therapy treatment is useful in cases where cancer cells cannot be removed surgically. Along with image guided treatment planning, radiation therapy is considered to be a powerful tool in the treatment of cancer, particularly when the cancer is identified at an early stage.
Generally, surgery is followed by radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells that were not removed by surgery. At times the therapy is conducted prior to surgery to "shrink" a previously inoperable tumor to a manageable size to enable surgical removal. If any cancer cell is remaining after surgery, that can also be removed after surgery. Radiation oncologists may combine chemotherapy and cancer radiation therapy treatment to effectively treat the cancer.
Radiation therapy is a local treatment that affects cancer cells in the treated area.
Radiation therapy can be categorized into two types:
External radiation therapy is usually given on an outpatient basis whereas for internal radiation therapy, the patient stays in the hospital for a few days.