You need to know! Radiation therapy cures cancer without surgery

Radiation therapy is an important component of cancer treatment, with approximately 50% of all cancer patients receiving radiation therapy during their course of illness – it contributes towards 40% of curative treatment for cancer. Now, learn more information about radiation therapy.

Understanding Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is a medical treatment used to combat cancer, employing high-energy rays or particles to destroy cancer cells. By targeting the DNA within these cells, radiation therapy inhibits their ability to grow and divide, leading to their eventual demise. This treatment can be administered as a standalone approach or combined with other treatments like chemotherapy or surgery. Its precision and effectiveness make it a key tool in the fight against various types of cancer.

Types of Radiation Therapy

External Beam Radiation Therapy

External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT) is a common form of radiation treatment where a machine directs high-energy beams towards the cancer from outside the body. Advanced imaging technology ensures precise targeting, minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissues. EBRT can treat various cancers and might involve several sessions over weeks. It’s non-invasive and can be tailored in intensity and angle, making it versatile for different cancer types and locations.

Internal Radiation Therapy (Brachytherapy)

Internal Radiation Therapy, or Brachytherapy, involves placing radioactive material directly inside or near the tumor. This localized approach delivers a high radiation dose to the cancer cells while sparing the surrounding healthy tissues. It’s commonly used for cancers like cervical, prostate, and breast cancer. The radiation source can be temporary or permanent, with the latter involving seeds that gradually stop emitting radiation over time. This method is highly effective for treating small, localized tumors.

Systemic Radiation Therapy

Systemic Radiation Therapy treats cancer by introducing radioactive substances into the bloodstream, either orally or via an injection. This method allows the radiation to travel throughout the body, targeting cancer cells that have spread. It’s often used for specific types of cancer, such as thyroid cancer or cancers that have metastasized. This therapy is particularly effective when cancer cells absorb the radioactive material more readily than normal cells, enabling a targeted approach even for widespread cancers.

How Radiation Therapy Is Applied to Treat Different Cancers

Radiation Therapy for Stage 1 Lung Cancer

In Stage 1 lung cancer, radiation therapy, especially Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT), is highly effective. SBRT delivers precise, high-dose radiation to the tumor while minimizing damage to surrounding tissues. This method is ideal for patients who may not be suitable for surgery due to medical reasons. It involves a few treatments compared to traditional radiation therapy, focusing on eradicating the cancer with minimal impact on the patient’s daily life.

Radiotherapy for Breast Cancer

Radiotherapy is a cornerstone in the treatment of breast cancer, typically administered after surgery to eliminate any remaining cancer cells. It significantly reduces the risk of cancer recurrence within the breast. The treatment is carefully planned to protect the heart and lungs from radiation exposure, with techniques like Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and deep inspiration breath hold (DIBH) being employed to maximize safety and efficacy.

Radiotherapy for Prostate Cancer

For prostate cancer, radiotherapy is a primary treatment, especially effective in early stages or for cancer that hasn’t spread. Techniques like External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT) or Brachytherapy are used, depending on the case specifics. EBRT involves targeted radiation beams, while brachytherapy involves placing radioactive seeds in the prostate. The goal is to destroy cancer cells while preserving surrounding tissues, minimizing side effects such as urinary or sexual dysfunction.

Radiation Therapy for Early-Stage Breast Cancer

In early-stage breast cancer, radiation therapy is often used after breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) to target any unseen cancer cells, drastically reducing the risk of recurrence. The approach is typically external beam radiation, focusing on the breast, and sometimes the surrounding lymph node areas. Advanced techniques ensure precision targeting, preserving healthy tissue and reducing side effects. This treatment is crucial for comprehensive cancer care, ensuring maximal eradication of cancer cells while maintaining the integrity of the breast.

Advancements and Innovations in Radiation Therapy

Targeted radiation therapy techniques have revolutionized cancer treatment by focusing high-energy beams precisely on tumors. This precision limits exposure to healthy tissues, reducing side effects. Techniques like intensity-modulated radiation the rapy (IMRT) adjust radiation doses and angles for maximal tumor targeting, enhancing treatment effectiveness and safety.

Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) integrates advanced imaging techniques during radiation therapy, ensuring pinpoint accuracy. By visualizing the tumor in real-time, IGRT adjusts for movements (like breathing) and any changes in tumor size or position, delivering radiation with heightened precision and protecting adjacent healthy tissue.

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) delivers highly concentrated radiation doses to small, well-defined tumors in fewer sessions than traditional methods. This approach is notable for its precision, significantly reducing the risk of damage to surrounding tissues. SBRT is particularly effective for treating small tumors in non-operable or sensitive areas.