Taking a Look at Radiation Therapy in Cancer

Thursday 15 September 2011

Normal cells can receive a certain amount of radiation safely. Which means a certain part of your body can only receive a certain amount of radiation safely for your entire life.

What is Radiotherapy?

It is the use of high-energy radiation waves targeted at the cancer area, to shrink or kill the tumour cells. It may be used in combination with surgery or chemotherapy.

It is intended to damage the DNA of the cancer cells, so these cells cannot reproduce. They then shrink, die and are eliminated by our body.

Unfortunately, radiation also destroys the normal tissue areas around the cancer cells. Our ovaries and testicles are the most easily damaged by radiation.

Side Effects of Radiotherapy

Early side effects include:
  • skin irritation
  • damage to salivary glands
  • hair loss
  • nausea and vomiting
  • fatigue

Late side effects include:
  • scarring
  • damage to your bowels
  • infertility
  • memory loss
(Source: Health At Large, Radiation Treatment by Dr Y.L.M.)

Is there any way you can reduce the side effects of radiotherapy? How can you protect your normal cells from being damaged by radiation? Please click on this link for the answer.