Radiotherapy is beneficial in the treatment of cancer. About 50 per cent of patients undergo Radiotherapy at some stage during the treatment of their cancer. Radiation is a localised procedure to the cancer site destroying the cancer cells, which helps healthy cells restore themselves usually. Radiotherapy may be offered alone or in combination with other therapies to destroy the cancer cells. Such treatments include surgery, Chemotherapy and Hormone therapy. The medical staff agree on the best course of action tailored to the patient.
Radiotherapy may be given to either cure the disease (Radical treatment) or to relieve symptoms (Palliative treatment) of the disease. The course of treatment will be different for a patient undergoing radical Radiotherapy treatment or palliative care.
Radical Radiotherapy is used with the purpose to destroy the cancer cells and cure the disease. A course of radical radiation treatment can be anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks Monday to Friday. Both therapies deliver a small dose of radiation a day to kill the cancer cells also to give healthy cells time to heal.
Palliative Radiotherapy is used to relieve symptoms of the cancer, e.g. Pain. If a tumour is no longer curable, palliative Radiotherapy may be used. Higher doses of radiation are administered than for curative care, usually over a shorter period of time (sometimes only a single care).
Radiation therapy is a standard treatment of cancer and is often used in conjunction with other therapies, such as Chemotherapy or Surgery.
The key aims of Radiation therapy are to reduce tumours and destroy cancer cells. Although the treatment itself most possibly harm healthy cells, the damage is not permanent. Healthy, noncancerous cells can recover from Radiation therapy. To minimise the effect radiation has on the body, the radiation is aimed only at required points in the body.
Radiation therapy can be used at various periods of Cancer Treatment and with different outcomes. Radiation therapy can be used:
- To reduce symptoms in advanced or late-stage cancer
- As the main treatment for cancer
- In conjunction with other cancer treatments
- To shrink a tumour before surgery
- To kill any remaining cancer cells after surgery