Radiation Therapy According To Cancer Types
Radiation Therapy for Ovarian Cancer
Radiation therapy uses high energy x-rays or particles to kill cancer cells. These x-rays may be given in a procedure that is much like having a regular X-Ray. Aggressive Chemotherapy is usually more effective, so Radiation therapy is rarely used in this country as the main Treatment for Ovarian Cancer. However, it can be useful in treating areas where the cancer has spread, either near the main tumor or in a distant organ, like the brain or spinal cord.
External beam radiation therapy
This is the most common type of radiation therapy for women with Ovarian Cancer. External Radiation therapy is much like getting an x-ray, but the radiation is stronger. A machine focuses the radiation on the area affected by the cancer. The procedure itself is painless. Each treatment lasts only a few minutes, but the setup time—getting you into place for treatment—usually takes longer. Treatments are given 5 days a week for several weeks.
Some common side effects include:
- Skin changes – the skin in the treated area may look and feel sunburned or even blister and peel.
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Vaginal irritation, sometimes with a discharge (if the pelvis is being treated)
These side effects improve after treatment is stopped. Skin changes gradually fade, and the skin returns to normal in 6 to 12 months.
If you are having side effects from radiation, tell your cancer care team. There may be ways to manage them.
Brachytherapy, also known as internal radiation, is another way to deliver Radiation therapy. Instead of aiming radiation beams from outside the body, a device containing radioactive Seeds or pellets is placed inside the body, near the cancer. This is rarely done for Ovarian Cancer.