Radiotherapy

What is Radiotherapy ?
Radiotherapy is use of high energy radiation like X-Ray to kill cancer Cell. In common language it is called heat treatment. Radiotherapy works by damaging the cancer cells, due to which they are unable to multiply.

It is given for a few minutes only, five days a week for an average of five to six weeks .Radiotherapy may damage some healthy cells too and hence cause side effects.

Types of Radiotherapy
Tele Therapy here radiotherapy is given from a distance. This is the most common form of radiotherapy.
Brachy Therapy  here the source of radiotherapy is in contact of the body, as used in cancer of the cervix.
Intraluminal Therapy here the source is put inside the narrow hollow organs of the body like the windpipe or the foodpipe.
Interstitial Therapy  here the radiotherapy is passed through very fine tubes placed in the body, as in cancer of the muscles and breast.
Cobalt Therapy is the conventional method of radiotherapy. Here the source of rays is Cobalt.
Linear Accelerator is the modern radiotherapy machine which is more effective, is faster and has less side effects.

Indications of Radiotherapy
Adjuvant used postoperatively to prevent local spread.
Primary    used as the main modality of treatment as in cancer of cervix, and few cases of head and neck cancers and in some advanced inoperable cancers.
Pre Operative to shrink the tumor to make it operable and to decrease the extent of surgery.
Palliative given to bones and spine in cases of metastasis to the bone, for severe pain and to prevent fractures. It can also be used to stop generalized bleeding from cancers.

Side effects of Radiotherapy
Radiotherapy may cause nausea, vomiting, dryness of mouth, ulcers in mouth and skin, and diarrhea. These are generally temporary effects. it may however cause severe damage to the lungs, heart, nerves and brain if these organs are not protected well.

DOs and DONTs
•    See the doctor at least once while on treatment
•    No shaving if getting radiotherapy on face Avoid scrubbing or rubbing the area
•    Avoid crowds and meeting people as they could give infection    
•    Report to the doctor immediately even in case of mild fever or bleeding
•    Ensure you do not rub off the markings made on the skin to pinpoint the exact place where the radiotherapy is to be directed

Nutrition
Drink lots of fluids
Eat small frequent meals at room temperature
Eat well-cooked soft food
Avoid hot and spicy food
Eat a good nutritious diet rich in calories and proteins
Avoid tea, coffee, alcohol, and tobacco
Drink juices, soups, coconut water fresh lime etc

General Care
Exercise for a few minutes every day
Rest as much as you can
Do not over exert
Wear loose fitting clothes preferably of soft cotton material
Do not use perfumes, scented soaps etc
Sponge the radiated area lightly with lukewarm water and pat it dry.

 
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