Radiation therapy


This section provides information to help familiarize you with radiation therapy treatments. You will find information on steps to prepare for your treatment, how each treatment will proceed, the possible side effects, and the services available to you.

Please note that everyone is unique, which means that everyone’s treatment is unique too.

Your doctor will choose your treatment based on your: 

  • type of cancer
  • physical characteristics
  • general state of health

The benefits, risks, complications and side effects will be explained to you at your medical consultation. However, if you have any questions or concerns after this appointment, don’t hesitate to contact your clinical technologist. 

CANCER

Cancer is defined as the uncontrolled spread of abnormal cells.

Treating this disease may require only one type of treatment or a combination of therapies. Below we focus on radiation therapy.

RADIATION THERAPY

Radiation therapy is radiation treatment that attacks a cancer locally (i.e., in a specific part of the body). The radiation applied to the treated area destroys the cancer cells by damaging their DNA.

This radiation is invisible and doesn’t hurt when applied. However, just like any other therapy, radiation therapy may cause side effects. Each patient reacts differently, and a lack of side effects does not mean that the treatment is ineffective. 

The goal of radiation therapy is

  • Kill cancer cells in the tumour or any residual cancer cells following surgery.
  • Relieve pain.
  • Decrease bleeding.
  • Decrease nerve or vascular compressions, i.e., reduce the volume of a tumour compressing a nerve or blood vessel.

This type of radiation therapy is also called teletherapy.

This is the most common type of radiation therapy.

The radiation is produced using a machine called a linear accelerator.

  

 

 

 

This type of radiotherapy is also called brachytherapy. It involves the use of a radiation source that is placed close to the tumour inside the body.

Brachytherapy can be used alone or in combination with external radiation therapy   

 

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