When you hear that you have cancer, you may have a little out-of-body experience. It’s hard to hear that word, and we completely understand that you may react out of anger, fear, or sadness. But, after we react, it’s important to understand your options and take back control. When it comes to cancer treatment, chemotherapy is the term we hear most often, and it’s the thing patients worry most about. Chemotherapy is not easy on the body, to be sure. And while we may recommend it for certain patients, chemotherapy isn’t always recommended. In fact, radiation therapy may be able to help in cases where you’ve found cancer early on. Keep reading to learn about radiation therapy.
What is Radiation?
Radiation can come in various forms and works by killing cancer cells by preventing them from multiplying. One of the best features of radiation is that Oncologists can deliver radiation very accurately, which means that tumors can be targeted while leaving the tissue nearby unharmed. In cases where you have found cancer early on, radiation may be used instead of surgery or chemotherapy.
The types of cancer that we can treat with radiation include:
- Brain tumors
- Head and neck
How many treatments will I need?
Every patient and situation is different, so we can’t say exactly how many treatments you’ll need. Once you come in and see us, we’ll be able to give you a more specific number of treatments to expect. We can update your plan as we proceed, watching as the tumor goes away and reacting accordingly.
What are common side effects of radiation therapy?
Radiation is vastly different from chemotherapy, so banish the thought of being sick or losing your hair. Radiation therapy does not cause pain, though you may still experience common side effects that vary depending on where the cancer is, and what type it is. There is a low risk that radiation may cause future tumors. Many patients opt to take that risk, choosing to fight the tumor they have and worry about future tumors in the rare chance they do occur.