What is Radiotherapy Treatment? – How is it applied?
What is Radiotherapy?
Radiotherapy is a radiation therapy used in the treatment of cancer patients. With the application of high radiation to the cancerous tissues of the patients, it is ensured that the tumors are reduced and their effects are reduced. While chemotherapy is used for the treatment of tumors detected in the early stages, it is used to relieve pain and to continue the faulty functions by reducing the pressure of the tumor in tumors detected in the late stages.
How does radiotherapy work?
Radiation therapy does not suddenly kill cancer cells. It degrades the DNA of cancer cells. The aim in radiotherapy was to cause great damage to the DNA of Cancer Cells. The growth of cells with damaged DNA slows down. It then begins to die. It takes days or weeks for the DNA to be damaged enough for cancer cells to die. Then, cancer cells continue to die for weeks or months after radiation therapy is finished.
Cancer cells whose DNA is damaged beyond repair stop dividing or die. When damaged cells die, they are broken down and removed by the body.
What are the Types of Radiotherapy?
There are two main types of radiation therapy; outer ray and inner ray.
The type of radiation therapy between the two types depends on the type of cancer. Your doctor will decide on the type of radiotherapy you will receive according to the following;
- Type of cancer
- Size of the tumor
- Location of the tumor in the body
- How close the tumor is to radiation-sensitive normal tissues
- Your general health and medical history
- Whether you will receive other types of cancer treatment
- Other factors, such as your age and other medical conditions
How is Radiotherapy Applied?
The application of radiation therapy differs according to the types. For this reason, you can learn how the following types are applied.
Application of external beam radiation therapy
External beam radiation therapy is done with a machine that sends beams to your cancer. The machine can be large and noisy. But you don’t have to worry. It will not harm you and it will not hurt you. It sends you radiation from many directions to a part of your body simply by moving around you. You should know that external beam therapy is a local treatment. For example, if the cancer is in your lungs, you will only receive radiation to your chest, not your entire body.
Application of Internal beam radiation therapy
Internal radiation therapy is a treatment in which a radiation source is placed inside your body. This is also divided into two; solid or liquid
Solid internal radiation therapy is called brachytherapy. In this type of treatment, seeds, strips, or capsules containing a radiation source are placed inside your body, in or near the tumor. Like external beam radiation therapy, brachytherapy is a local treatment and only treats a specific part of your body.
With brachytherapy, the radiation source in your body will emit radiation for a while.
Liquid internal radiation therapy is called systemic therapy. Systemic means that the treatment travels from the blood to the tissues in your body, looking for and killing cancer cells. You receive systemic radiation therapy by swallowing, through a vein through a vein, or through an injection. With systemic radiation, your body fluids such as urine, sweat and saliva will emit radiation for a while.
Why is Radiotherapy Applied?
Radiation therapy is used to treat cancer or relieve cancer symptoms.
If radiation therapy is used to treat cancer, it can completely kill the cancer, stop its growth or prevent it from coming back.
When treatments are used to relieve symptoms, they are called palliative treatments. This can shrink tumors to treat pain and other problems caused by the tumor, such as difficulty breathing or loss of bowel and bladder control. Pain from cancer that has spread to the bone can be treated with systemic radiation therapy drugs called radiopharmaceuticals.
What are the Benefits of Radiotherapy?
- The main advantage of radiotherapy is to prevent cancer from growing by damaging its DNA. However, in case of severe damage, it kills the cancer cell over time.
- It helps make surgery possible in some types of cancer.
- After treatment You usually do not need to stay in the hospital.
- If you feel good, you can continue with your daily life, such as going to work.
- If you have advanced cancer, radiotherapy can help control symptoms and relieve pain.
What are the Side Effects of Radiotherapy?
Unfortunately, radiotherapy has many different side effects. It can contain different complaints for everyone. For this reason, some of the side effects you may experience after treatment include;
- burning sensation inside your mouth
- mouth ulcers that can become infected
- dry mouth
- Decreased sense of taste
- Bad Breath
- Loss of appetite
- swallowing problems
- Stiff joints and muscles
- Sex and fertility issues
- sore skin
- skin problems
- hair loss
- feeling sick
- Eating and drinking problems
How to Reduce the Side Effects of Radiotherapy?
The side effects of radiotherapy can often be easily reduced.
You should know that radiotherapy can cause eating disorders. This can cause you to lose weight due to an unbalanced and unhealthy diet. For this, you should try to stick to a healthy diet and get support from a dietitian. Even if eating can feel like torture sometimes, you should not forget that your food is important even if you do not taste what you eat. For example, keep eating your favorite dishes on your menu and don’t be afraid to add lots of seasoning to tasteless dishes. This will increase your appetite a little bit.
Drying of your skin is also one of the side effects of Radiotherapy. Redness on your skin, and the formation of cracks may cause you discomfort. For this, be sure to take a shower with a pure and clean shower and use plenty of moisturizer. This is important for faster healing of your wounds.
One of the most common side effects of radiotherapy is fatigue.
To feel better, you have to make sure you stay physically active. Although you may feel tired, you may prefer physical activities such as light-paced walking and cycling. Your metabolism will speed up and you will feel better. Remember that the fatigue you will experience after radiotherapy is not a real fatigue. So keep moving
Unfortunately, radiotherapy is a treatment that can sometimes be quite expensive. Since it cannot be taken in every hospital, it is important to get it from specialist and experienced surgeons. However, it is also necessary to take it in a well-equipped hospital. In many countries, treatment costs are extremely high. For this reason, patients often prefer to receive treatment in different countries. This would be a better decision. Because the cost of treatments can vary enormously. To explain with an example, you can examine the price difference between the USA and Turkey.
Radiotherapy Prices in USA
Unfortunately, it is a pity that radiotherapy prices are extremely variable. Traveling in order to get treatment at very affordable prices is the only solution. Although USA is a country at the top of cancer treatment centers, its prices are unfortunately inaccessible to most people. For this reason, it is a necessity to prefer different countries for treatment. But you should know. that traveling to a different country for treatments will affect you better.
Getting treatment in a different country and seeing new places can be a source of morale for you. However, while you need to make an appointment months in advance to receive radiotherapy in the USA, this is not required in some countries. Planning a treatment in the USA will adversely affect your treatment, both due to the long waiting period and expensive treatment prices. The minimum fee required for treatment in the USA will be 15.000€ for 1 session.
Radiotherapy Prices in Turkey
Turkey has very good prices for radiotherapy, as with many treatments. The fact that there are many successful hospitals in Turkey also facilitates the transportation of treatments. Thus, patients can receive treatment easily without waiting time, and they pay less for the cost of treatment. The fact that the exchange rate is extremely high in Turkey is a situation that significantly affects the treatment prices. The price you will pay to receive radiotherapy in Turkey will start from €4,000.