Monday, July 4, 2022

Radiation Therapy According To Cancer Types

Leukaemia

Radiation Therapy for Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia (ALL)

(Note: This information is about treating acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL) in adults. To learn about ALL in children, see Leukaemia in Children.)

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. It is not usually part of the main treatment for people with acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL), but it is used in certain situations:

  • Radiation is sometimes used to treat leukaemia that has spread to the brain and spinal fluid, or to the testicles.
  • Radiation to the whole body is often an important part of treatment before a bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell transplant (see High-dose Chemotherapy and Stem Cell Transplant for Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia).
  • Radiation is used (rarely) to help shrink a tumour if it is pressing on the trachea (windpipe) and causing breathing problems. But Chemotherapy is often used instead, as it may work more quickly.
  • Radiation can also be used to reduce Pain in an area of bone invaded by leukaemia, if Chemotherapy has not helped.

External beam radiation therapy, in which a machine delivers a beam of radiation to a specific part of the body, is the type of radiation used most often for ALL. Before your treatment starts, the radiation team will take careful measurements to determine the correct angles for aiming the radiation beams and the proper dose of radiation. This planning session, called simulation, usually includes getting imaging tests such as CT or MRI scans.

Radiation treatment is much like getting an x-ray, but the radiation is much stronger. The procedure itself is painless. Each treatment lasts only a few minutes, although the setup time – getting you into place for treatment – usually takes longer. The number of treatments you get depends on the reason Radiation therapy is being used.

Side effects

The possible side effects of Radiation therapy depend on where the radiation is aimed. They include:

  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Skin changes in the treated area, which can range from mild redness to burning and peeling
  • Hair loss in the area being treated
  • Nausea and Vomiting (if the head or belly is being treated)
  • Diarrhea (if the belly or pelvis is being treated)
  • Mouth sores and trouble swallowing (if the head and neck area are being treated)
  • Headaches (if the head is being treated)
  • Lowered blood cell counts, which can lead to Fatigue and shortness of breath (from low red blood cell counts), bleeding or bruising (from low Platelet counts), and an increased risk of infection (from low white blood cell counts)

Radiation Therapy for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. It is usually not part of the main treatment for people with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), but there are a few instances in which it may be used:

  • Radiation is sometimes used to treat leukaemia that has spread outside of the bone marrow and blood, such as to the brain and spinal fluid, or to the testicles.
  • Radiation to the whole body is often an important part of treatment before a stem cell transplant.
  • It is used (rarely) to help shrink a tumour (myeloid sarcoma) if it is pressing on the trachea (windpipe) and causing breathing problems. But Chemotherapy is often used instead, as it often works more quickly.
  • Radiation can be used to reduce Pain in an area of bone that is invaded by leukaemia, if Chemotherapy has not helped.

Before your treatment starts, the radiation team will take careful measurements to determine the correct angles for aiming the radiation beams and the proper dose of radiation. This planning session, called simulation, usually includes getting imaging tests such as CT or MRI scans.

The type of Radiation therapy used to treat AML is called external beam radiation. The treatment is much like getting an x-ray, but the radiation is much stronger. The procedure itself is painless. The number of treatments you get depends on the reason Radiation therapy is being used. Each treatment lasts only a few minutes, although the setup time − getting you into place for treatment – usually takes longer.

The possible side effects of Radiation therapy depend on where the radiation is aimed. Sunburn-like skin changes and Hair loss in the treated area are possible. Radiation to the head and neck area can lead to mouth sores and trouble swallowing. Radiation to the abdomen can cause nausea, vomiting, or Diarrhea. Radiation can lower blood counts, leading to Fatigue (from low red blood cell counts), bleeding or bruising (from low Platelet counts), and an increased risk of infection (from low white blood cell counts).