Radiation therapy is a standard cancer treatment. The cancer cells get irradiated with radiation like gamma rays, x-rays, protons, and electron beams in this treatment. The process helps destroy the tumor’s cancer cells without harming the nearby cells. In most advanced cancer cases, radiation therapy is suggested by the oncologist for an effective recovery.
However, radiation therapy can cause discomfort and anxiety in patients. But, understanding the radiation treatment process is crucial.
How To Plan The Radiation Treatment?
The patient will have to undergo complete radiation therapy planning before actual treatment begins. It can take up to 10-12 days. The planning of treatment involves:
- Consultation: Meeting with the oncologist to determine the extent of radiation therapy needed.
- Consent: Reviewing the treatment process and providing informed consent to the team.
- Simulation: The treatment team will map the location of the tumor and the area that will receive treatment with the help of CT scans and MRI.
- Tattooing: The field of treatment gets specified with the help of tattoos on the skin. The area will get tattooed with ink and needles.
What Is The Process Of The Treatment?
After the planning and scheduling of the treatment are complete, you will have to visit the radiation center. In most cases, the treatment is done five days a week, from Monday to Friday. The entire process takes almost 1 hour. Radiation takes 20 minutes, and the rest is for preparation.
Here are the steps of the treatment that will help in knowing about the radiation treatment process:
- Positioning: First, the patient will be positioned on the treatment table, mimicking the simulation. Positioning is locked using different tools and devices.
- X-rays and scanning: The radiation team will take X-rays and scans after positioning. This step is crucial for matching the simulation images and current images. If there is any difference, the patient will get repositioned.
- Radiation: After the patient gets positioned, the radiation process will start. This lasts up to 15-20 minutes. People usually do not feel any pain during the radiation.
- On treatment consultations: After a few days of commencement of the therapy, the patient’s nurse and oncologist will examine the patient. They will note the current tumor condition, the changes, and the side effects.
What Are The After Care Tips?
After-effects of the radiation treatment can vary from patient to patient. Some common side effects of radiation treatment are fatigue, hair loss, skin problems, lack of appetite, etc.
Here are some general after-care tips for patients:
- The patient should rest as much as possible.
- Keep drinking water and other fluids to keep hydrated.
- Keep meals balanced and rich in vitamins and protein.
- Avoid food that is rich in fat, sugar, and oil.
- Take care of the affected skin with prescribed topicals.
- Avoid rubbing, scrubbing, and shaving the skin that is affected.
- Take short walks and do some light exercise.
- Take prescribed medicines on time.
Radiation therapy is a safe treatment that helps in recovering from cancer. The process is planned and managed by the radiation treatment team. They will help not only in planning the process but also in the after-care of the patient.