Your Guide To Radiation Therapy When You Have Been Diagnosed With Cancer

If you have recently been diagnosed with cancer and your oncologist has suggested radiation, it's important to be aware that the type of cancer you have is likely to impact the type of radiation you'll receive. For instance, one form of radiation that has successfully treated skin and lymph node cancers is particle radiation because it lacks the ability to penetrate through all of the layers of skin. If you have cancer that is beneath the dermis and presents in a bone, joint, or organ, your cancer specialist might suggest the use of proton radiation. That is due to the fact that proton radiation is stronger and therefore can attack many cancers that are invisible to the naked eye. When you need to have a clear understanding of the radiation therapy that can help you beat your cancer, you need to be aware of the facts shared below. 

Benefiting From Radiation...And Perhaps Other Cancer Treatments

Since there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to treating cancer, your oncologist will typically create a care plan that is appropriate for your diagnosis and your needs. For instance, radiation by itself is an effective treatment for many cancer patients. However, it is also fairly common to combine either form of radiation with chemotherapy or surgery. In some instances and if the cancer is large, it may be necessary to stagger radiation, surgical extraction of the cancerous cells, and chemotherapy.

Radiation can often shrink cancerous growths so that they can more easily be surgically removed. Chemotherapy is literally poison that is designed to kill the cancer, and surgery removes as much of the cancer and its surrounding tissue as it can.      

Understanding Particle Radiation

Particle radiation is a good choice if your skin or lymph node cancer is contained and has not spread to any of the other body parts. It is provided by a nurse, x-ray technician or other health care provider directing a specific amount of radiation to the affected area. Particle radiation works by attacking cancerous cells, alone or within a tumor, and destroying the DNA. When the DNA no longer exists, it cannot reproduce or spread, and therefore, it's easy to see why radiation plays such an enormous role in treating cancer

However, as mentioned previously, particle radiation cannot cure cancer if it is not easily accessible or visible without x-rays, ultrasounds, or similar medical equipment. In that instance, you might be advised to photon radiation, as explained in the following section.

Planning For Your Photon Radiation

Photon radiation is the most common type of radiation that is used for treating cancer and is remarkably similar to the x-rays you might get from your doctor when you break a bone. However, it is much stronger than the standard x-rays and can be focused with great accuracy on the area where the cancer has been detected. It is available in different strengths, so it can still be useful to treat cancerous growths hidden within your heart or bone where surgically extracting it isn't the best choice.

In conclusion, millions of people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and radiation therapies are often part of the treatment plan for treating that cancer. As a result, if you have been diagnosed with cancer and radiation is a treatment option that you are considering, the above information will be quite useful. For more information, check out a clinic like Firelands Regional Medical Center.