Radiotherapy or radiation therapy is a treatment protocol that uses high doses of electromagnetic waves to cause damage and kill cancer cells in the body.
The clinical oncologist is a specialist doctor trained in the handling of radiation for medical purposes.
The radiotherapy regiment that is chosen for you is highly personalized and takes into account various parameters like the nature of your tumor, the size and location of the tumor, whether it is to be given before or after surgery, whether it is therapeutic or palliative.
Doctors have safely and effectively used radiation therapy to treat cancer for more than 100 years.
There are generally two broad types of radiation therapy:
External beam radiation and internal beam radiation
During external-beam radiation therapy, the patient does not become radioactive. And the radiation remains in the treatment room.
However, internal radiation therapy causes the patient to give off radiation. As a result, visitors should follow these safety measures:
- Do not visit the patient if you are pregnant or younger than 18.
- Stay at least 6 feet from the patient’s bed.
- Limit your stay to 30 minutes or less each day.
Permanent implants remain radioactive after the patient leaves the hospital. Because of this, for 2 months, the patient should not have close or more than 5 minutes of contact with children or pregnant women.
Similarly, people who have had systemic radiation therapy should use safety precautions. For the first few days after treatment, take these safety measures:
- Wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet.
- Use separate utensils and towels.
- Drink plenty of fluids to flush the remaining radioactive material from the body.
- Avoid sexual contact.
- Try to avoid contact with infants, children, and pregnant women
Your oncologist will discuss with you which modality is best suited for your unique situation.