Sunday, April 10, 2011

Radiation Cancer Treatment

Aim for Radiation Cancer Treatment

The aim of radiation therapy is to cure cancer, where possible,
 whilst maintaining acceptable function and cosmesis. 
Radiation can be used alone or with chemotherapy or surgery.

Where cure is not possible, the aim is the relief of symptoms 
(palliation) of cancer, thereby improving the person's 
well-being. The treatment with radiation is held off until 
the patient needs it to alleviate pain after the tumor has 
spread. Radiation may be withheld until it will be most 
beneficial for the patient's comfort.

Indications for Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is the principal treatment for various 
skin cancers; cancers of the mouth, nasal cavity, pharynx 
and larynx; brain tumours and many gynaecological, lung 
cancers, and prostate cancers.

Radiation therapy plays a leading role in conjunction with 
surgery and/or chemotherapy in breast cancer, bowel 
cancer, bladder cancer, Hodgkin's disease, leukemia and
 lymphomas, thyroid cancer, childhood cancers, 
gynaecological and testis tumours, as well as many other 
cancers and certain benign conditions.

Action of Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy works by destroying cells, either directly 
or by interfering with cell reproduction using high-energy 
X-rays, electron beams or radioactive isotopes. When a 
radiated cell attempts to divide and reproduce itself, 
it fails to do so and dies in the attempt.

Normal cells are able to repair the effects of radiation better 
than are malignant and other abnormal cells. Thus, normal 
cells are able to recover from exposure to radiation and 
maintain integrity and viability better than malignant cells.
If the dose and delivery of radiation are well chosen and 
the disease is localized to the region of treatment, the cancer 
dies, whereas the normal tissues survive and the patient is 
made well again.

If fewer than all the cancer cells are killed, improvement may
only be short lived and the cancer may regrow. Since normal 
tissues are less able to withstand the effects of further radiation, 
repeated treatments at a later date are seldom beneficial.

 - obtained from BCCA Information Database

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