Treating Lung Cancer With Radiation Therapy
Sometimes called radiotherapy, radiation therapy uses rays of high-energy to kill off cancer cells by damaging their DNA and hindering their ability to both grow and divide. When cancerous cells realize that their DNA has been damaged, they die and are eliminated from the body naturally. Small cell lung cancer will discover this damage much more earlier on than non-small cell lung cancer, as it grows more rapidly helping the tumor to die more quickly. There are two types of radiation therapy available reiki toronto:
External Beam Radiation Therapy
Using a linear accelerator (machine), external beam radiation therapy offers an effective way to kill off cancerous cells, as it is capable of focusing a radiation beam precisely in the body for an exact period of time. It is usually given to patients over a period of several weeks where the lung cancer is either primary, or has metastasized to other organs.
Although this therapy is still widely used by doctors, it is in fact beginning to lose its place due to more modern technology. Such technology may include:
1. Three-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy (3D-CRT) – Used to treat lung cancer tumors by delivering a precise dose of multiple radiation treatment fields.
2. Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) – Modifies the radiation by varying the intensity of their beams. IMRT is a specialized form of 3D-CRT.
3. Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) – Used to treat early stage lung cancer by delivering small doses of high radiation to an exact target. SBRT is a specialized form of IMRT.
4. Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) – The most advanced radiation treatment available today that uses proton beams rather than X-rays, although due to it being a newly developed treatment process is not widely available.
Internal Beam Radiation Therapy (Brachytherapy)
Used to shrink the tumor with the use of a bronchoscope (flexible lighted instrument inserted into the trachea [windpipe]), to relieve the airways that may be blocked, although this is also a procedure that can be done surgically. Small amounts of radioactive material are placed either directly into the cancerous cells, or into the airway next to the cancerous cells.
Because brachytherapy radiation therapy is so precise, less damage is usually caused to the surrounding healthy tissue. It is also used in combination with chemotherapy where the tumor is difficult to operate on due to its size or location, or when the patient is unable to be operated on because of ill-health.
Side-Effects of Radiation Therapy
The side-effects of radiation therapy usually depend on the condition of the patient and which organs are receiving treatment, as the response between both can be quite dramatic. Some patients may appear to have short-term side-effects that disappear quickly, but where the damage tends to linger on, and other patients may suffer from more severe side-effects which disappear more quickly. However, one thing can be assured, there will be side-effects of some degree or another for all patients who receive this type of treatment.