Cancer Care Pune

How does radiation therapy work?

The incidence of Prostate cancer has increased by a large percentage in the last few years. Targeting the male population radiation therapy is a treatment that proves useful in getting it treated. In simple layman terms, Radiation is a high energy beam which can target a group of cells at one time. The one used for cancer is explicitly a high energy x-ray beam. Lesser known forms of radiation use protons named particles to remove a cancerous growth. Let us read more to know to about how exactly radiation therapy works.

The process of killing cancerous cells

There are two ways in which radiation therapy would be working on the extra cells. Firstly the energy of the beam attacks the cells and damages their DNA in such a manner that they do not get a chance of expanding further. Once the DNA is damaged the cell dies a quick death too. On the other hand in the second method, the radiation charges up all the water molecules near the cancer cells. This process creates what is known as “free radicals” which then proceed to damage the nearby DNA of other cells.

Does it harm healthy cells too?

Unfortunately, this is true that radiation can damage healthy cells too. However, there are still some differences in the way the cells respond to it. Firstly since cancer cells are abnormal, they are much more prone to getting damaged by the impact of radiation. On the other hand, if any damage
happens to the healthy cells, they can repair it pretty soon. Secondly, in today’s technologically advanced world it is possible for an oncologist to target only those cells which are cancerous in nature. While some other cells may be affected but mostly the primary impact would be on the cells which are creating problems for you.

How do we give radiation?

There are two ways in which radiation therapy can be given:

  1. Brachytherapy- In this form of therapy the radiation beams are placed where the problem lies. The source could be placed either very near or at the same tissue where you cancerous cells are expanding. In most cases, Prostate cancer gets treated in this manner. For the same radioactive seeds are placed directly into the Prostate, and the oncologist knows their exact amount needed for best results.
  2. External beam radiation therapy- As the name suggests here, the beams are given from outside the body. The machine would produce a beam of radiation, and that would be targeted at the place which requires the treatment. The patient is made to lie on a table while the radiation is being given to him.

Radiation therapy is one of the methods used to get rid of any cancerous growth in the body. Though when it is done the patient does not experience any pain, but later on, the signs of soreness can be experienced. However, the pain is mostly near the place where the radiation therapy has
been given. If the soreness is difficult to bear you should consult your doctor for the best way to deal with it.

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