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Radiation Therapy on the Gulf Coast

Radiation therapy is another common therapy used for the treatment of cancer. Infirmary Cancer Care’s radiation specialists work with patients and doctors to determine whether radiation therapy is the right option for them. With advances in radiation technology, radiation therapy is becoming a better way to treat cancer when surgery alone is not enough.

Call Infirmary Cancer Care today to learn more about radiation therapy.

What Is Radiation Therapy?

Radiation treatments are a therapy that uses radiation in high doses to kill cancer. The goal of this treatment is usually either to eliminate cancer entirely or at the very least alleviate symptoms, shrink the tumor or keep cancer from returning.

There are two types of radiation therapy:

  • External beam therapy: This type of radiation therapy uses an outside radiation source to target radiation to the cancerous section of the body.
  • Internal radiation therapy: This type of therapy delivers radiation, in either solid or liquid form, inside your body and allows cancer to be directly treated by the radiation. Liquid radiation is often given through IV and is most often used to treat thyroid cancers. Solid radiation is delivered as an implanted capsule and often is used to treat breast, cervix, prostate, eye or head and neck cancer.

Radiation therapy, while at times used as the sole treatment, is often used as merely a part of the overall treatment plan and is usually used either right before or after surgery.

What Cancers Can Radiation Therapy Treat?

Infirmary Cancer Care uses radiation therapy to treat the following types of cancer:

How to Prepare for a Radiation Therapy Appointment

Radiation therapy sessions usually only take between 15 and 30 minutes depending on the type of treatment and cancer. After the radiation has been administered, it will work in your body for days and even weeks killing cancer cells. On the day of the appointment, patients should arrange for a friend or a loved one to transport them to and from their appointment. Patients should also:

  • Wear comfortable clothes.
  • Wear loose clothing around the treatment areas.
  • Have no jewelry, bandages or powder covering the treatment area during treatment.

During the appointment, try to relax and bring books or music to ensure that you are comfortable during the treatment. Discuss with your treatment team how the treatment will progress. Infirmary Cancer Care’s team will take you through a practice session immediately before treatment to familiarize you with the process.

Side Effects of Radiation Therapy

Unlike chemotherapy, radiation therapy usually has no side effects during the treatment itself, although some individuals may get nauseous. The type of side effects may depend on the type of treatment and where it is targeted.

The most common side effects from radiation therapy include:

  • Fatigue
  • Changes to the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Dietary issues

Depending on the treatment other side effects could include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Swollen appendages
  • Painful swallowing

While radiation therapy is intended to kill the cancerous cells, doctors will attempt to use the minimum amount of radiation possible to ensure that not too many of your healthy cells are killed off. Targeting of radiation has increased in recent years and has made the treatment both more effective and produce fewer side effects.

Is Radiation Therapy Your Best Treatment Option?

Discuss radiation therapy with your doctor to see whether you should consider it as part of your treatment option. Our radiation specialists at Infirmary Cancer Care can also provide information and knowledge about whether radiation therapy is right for you.

Call today to schedule an appointment and learn more.

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