One of the most commonly used treatments for cancer is radiation therapy. Known by many names like radiotherapy or x-ray therapy, radiation treatment deploys high-energy waves to destroy cancer cells. These waves vary from electron or proton beams to gamma rays and x-rays.
How Does Radiation Therapy Work?
Since cancer cells multiply faster than healthy cells, radiation creates small breaks in the DNA inside cancer cells. Exposure to high-energy particles keeps them from growing into new cells, ultimately leading to death.
As opposed to other cancer treatment therapies, radiotherapy is a localized operation. That is, the treatment is focused only on the cancer-affected body part. In doing so, the treatment can minimize the damage to other body parts while destroying the cancer cells.
Some of the best cancer hospital in India offers many variants of radiation therapy. This post discusses all the types of radiotherapy available for cancer treatment.
External Beam Radiation Therapy
External Beam Radiation Therapy is a commonly used variant of radiotherapy used to treat large parts of the body. As is suggestive from the name, this treatment requires a light-emitting machine that directs the radiation to the body. A linear accelerator emits the radiation externally and targets the affected area.
This treatment extends over several weeks. Sometimes the procedure is also given twice on the same day. Best cancer hospital in Indiaprovides the following types of External beam therapy:
- Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT) – This procedure uses MRI, or CT scans to create a 3D image of cancer. Using these images, the radiation is focused at a precise location of the cancer cells.
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) – As an advanced version of the 3D-CRT treatment, IMRT produces a more complex and targeted radiation therapy. It uses varied intensity of radiation for every new beam.
- Proton beam therapy – This therapy involves the deposition of protons into the affected area, limiting the damage to the ailing tissues.
- Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) – As the name indicates, this therapy involves the use of different images at each stage for comparison and better targeting.
- Stereotactic radiation therapy – This method is used for small tumors. It deposits a hefty dose of radiation into the affected area and requires the patient to be stationary.
Internal Radiation Therapy
In this treatment method, radioactive material is implanted inside the body for damaging the cancer cells. Also known as brachytherapy, this radiotherapy alternative leaves a radioactive source inside the patient’s body to work over some time. It might require hospitalization based on the type and severity of cancer.
There are two different types of Internal Radiation Therapy treatments:
- Permanent Implants: Tiny steel capsule containing radioactive material is put into the patient’s body. This capsule is the size of a rice grain and emits radiation into the affected area.
- Temporary Radiotherapy: In this method, radiation is injected into the patient through a needle, catheter, or unique applicator. Radiation remains in the body for a few minutes.
Radiation therapy is given as both primary treatment and secondary treatment after chemotherapy. Doctors use palliative radiotherapy to reduce the tumor size and limit the damage. The best cancer hospital in India offers world-class cancer treatment using radiation therapy. Different approaches of radiotherapy, as discussed above, allow precise treatment for destroying cancer cells.