Mesothelioma Treatment - Radiation
Radiation treatment has three different methods by which it can be used to treat mesothelioma cancer. They are external, internal, and systemic. The location and spread of cancer determines which method will best suit the patient.
External radiation is produced by a machine that focuses a beam of light on a target inside the body where the cancer is located. This type of radiation may be given before surgery to reduce the size of a tumor and for a period of time after surgery to reduce the chance of the cancer recurring.
InterMesothelioma Treatmentnal radiation, also known as brachytherapy, is administered in the form of a capsule or seed that emanates radiation. The seed is placed near the cancer and emits cancer killing rays without harming healthy cells. The radioactive material in the body has a specific life span and is eliminated from the body along with dead cancer cells through the body’s normal excretory process.
Systemic radiation uses drugs called radiopharmaceuticals that are administeredeither orally or intravenously. The radiation makes its way through the body and collects near the cancerous cells and destroys them.
Other Radiation Types
Other types of radiation include Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) and Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). SRS treats brain tumors with a precise delivery of a single, high dose of radiation in a one-day session. Focused radiation beams are delivered to a specific area of the brain. With IMRT, the intensity of the radiation can be changed during treatment to spare more adjoining normal tissue than is spared during conventional radiation therapy. Because of this, an increased dose of radiation can be delivered to the tumor using IMRT. IMRT is a type of conformal radiation, which shapes radiation beams to closely approximate the shape of the tumor.
Helical Tomo Therapy uses a combination of Spiral CT-scan and Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) to treat tumors with pinpoint accuracy. Rather than using a few large beams aimed at the tumor from different directions, this therapy uses hundreds of pencil-sized beams to target the tumor. The ability to visualize the tumor with CT-scan and greater accuracy of the radioactive beams allows for greatly reduced peripheral organ damage and fewer side effects.
Side Effects of Radiation Therapy
The side effects of radiation therapy are minimal compared to the benefits patients receive. Radiation can cause redness around the treated area, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, general malaise, hair loss, and dry mouth. Reproductive organs are also affected leading to infertility. The benefits for some patients can be a considerable relief of pain and shortness of breath that Mesothelioma patients often struggle with.
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