Over the years, cancer research has progressed to the point where several treatment methods have been discovered to be quite effective to patients, including radiation therapy. This procedure involves the use of high-energy particles or waves, which destroy cancer cells. Radiation therapy is one of the most common forms of treatment, and it yields impressive results for many people.
There are a multitude of cancer types that can be diminished or eliminated with this procedure, but the most common types are cancer of the head, neck, bladder or lungs. The particle waves that are used to neutralize the cancer can range from gamma rays to x-rays to protons. It is possible for a person to receive more than one type of radiation to treat his or her cancer. The outcome of the treatment varies with each patient, but substantial cancer research suggests that it is an effective procedure for people to use.
As many people know, what differentiates cancer cells from normal ones is the fact that they divide abnormally and at a fast rate. The way radiation works to destroy these cells is by slowly breaking up the DNA inside them. This usually causes the cells to stop dividing and eventually die. There is a big difference between radiation and chemotherapy, as the former treatment only targets the portion of the body that is being affected by cancer. Radiation may kill some of the body’s normal cells, but these cells will eventually be replaced. Both chemotherapy and radiation are invaluable products of cancer research, but the second approach does not inflict extensive harm to the body’s healthy components.
Radiation therapy can take three different forms: external, internal and systemic. External therapy involves the use of a machine that directs rays into a body’s tumors as well as into tissue that is in close proximity to the tumors. This type of treatment is carried out in an outpatient setting over the course of many weeks. Internal therapy utilizes a small implant, which is placed near a tumor inside a person’s body. The implant exudes a low dose of radiation that travels a short distance to treat the tumor, and few healthy tissues are negatively affected by this procedure. Systemic radiation employs drugs rather than mechanical devices, and a person can take these drugs by swallowing them or having them injected into their veins. As cancer research continues to improve, there may be additional ways to implement radiation therapy in the future.
Not every person can benefit from this procedure, and whether a patient can use it depends on where the cancer cells are located in the body. There are also limits to how long a person can be treated with radiation. The body can only sustain so much exposure without sustaining significant damage. It is up to a patient’s doctor to decide whether or not a patient is an appropriate candidate for therapy. People should also talk to their doctor about the possible side effects that may occur as a result of coming into contact with radiation.
Though there are risks and limits to this type of therapy, cancer research proves radiation to be beneficial to people in numerous ways. In addition to being effective on a variety of cancers, it is also not debilitating towards the people that use it. The treatment sessions can last as little as fifteen minutes and no hospital stay is required. People can seek therapy without having to effect their daily schedule. While not everyone can benefit from this particular treatment, people should discuss their options with their doctor. If radiation is appropriate for them, then they can utilize an effective form of cancer treatment without having to disrupt their regular life.
Cancer research may eventually produce a definitive cure for this pervasive disease, but until that day, radiation therapy can be effective for many people. Through external, internal and systemic techniques, cancer cells are prevented from growing and are ultimately killed. Many different cancers are eliminated through this procedure, and little permanent damage is inflicted upon a patient’s healthy tissues. There are many forms of cancer treatment available to people, and not every person is a suitable candidate for radiation therapy. For those who are, though, they have the opportunity to benefit from one of the most helpful outcomes of cancer research.