This information is intended for general information only and should not be considered as medical advice on the part of Health-Tourism.com. Any decision on medical treatments, after-care or recovery should be done solely upon proper consultation and advice of a qualified physician.
Radiotherapy, also called radiation therapy includes the use of ionizing radiation as a way to treat Cancer patients. This treatment acts by controlling as well as destroying malignant cells. Additionally, it could lead to treatment of several types of Cancer if the cells have not yet spread to different sections of the body. Apart from being used as a complimentary therapy with the intention of preventing the growth from recurring after a surgery, for instance during the early stages of breast Cancer, it is also used with curative intent. Radiation therapy is often combined with hormone therapy, surgery, immunotherapy or chemotherapy.
What to consider before starting radiotherapy
Pregnancy - during radiotherapy it is best not to get pregnant since radiotherapy harms a baby that may be developing. As for men, it is wise not to father a child during this time. Make sure you are not pregnant as you sign the consent form.
Get help at home because fatigue and depression could take a toll on you and minimize your production.
Check your financial records to ensure you can meet your appointment and travel cost. You may not be able to drive yourself to your appointments in the hospital and may need to consider a driver.
Talk to your employers if you are working or your tutors if you are pursuing further education to arrange for a program that can offer you as much support as you may need. You could even take some time off for treatment.
How to prepare for radiation therapy
Stop smoking to ensure that the radiotherapy works efficiently.
The oncologist will prepare a plan for your treatment considering your health and fitness condition.
Take tests to be sure of the size and position of the tumor. The tests include X-rays, CT-scans or an MRI scan.
You will be instructed on how to position your body before the actual day so that the machine can be accurate.
Your oncologist will tattoo some dots to locate actual spots to help when you have treatment
How to take care of yourself during radiotherapy
Sleep and rest as much as you can.
Ensure to keep to a well-balanced diet to help you stay healthy and retain your body’s nutrients
Keep your care team in the know of the additional medicines and supplements you may be taking.
Take care of your skin that may be affected by external radiation therapy.
Get involved in a support group that will help you connect with other people.
Side effects of radiotherapy
- Fatigue for several weeks after treatment
- Skin irritation that could look like mild sunburn
- Nausea and vomiting
- Mouth, throat, and stomach
- Intestinal discomfort
- Swelling due to inflammation
- Infertility due to direct exposure
- Changes in menstruation cycle that may even show signs of menopause
- Emotional disability that could cause depression, frustration, loneliness, helplessness, anger and even fright
Coping with side effects
There are different side effects since the experience is different for every patient. It is beneficial if you keep close contact with your health team which will help you on how to deal with different effects.
Learn more about Radiotherapy