Advantages and Disadvantages of Radiation Therapy

Radiotherapy side effects

Radiation Therapy Advantages and Disadvantages

Radiotherapy side effects

Pros:

The advantages of radiation therapy include:

. Death of a large proportion of cancer cells within the entire tumor (there are minimal, if any, cancer cells are left behind in small tumors; thus, radiation alone may be used to cure certain small tumors)

. Death of microscopic disease at the periphery of the tumor that would not be visible to the naked eye (e.g. at the time of surgery)

. Ability to shrink tumors (which may help to relieve mass effect; or it may be done before surgery, to convert certain patients from unresectable to resectable status)

. Relative safety for the patient (radiation can be delivered from outside of the body and focused on the tumor, is painless, and generally does not require anesthesia)

. Synergy with systemic therapy (i.e. the ability to kill more cells together than either therapy could do alone)

. Organ preservation (e.g. not removing a breast, larynx, or part of the gastrointestinal tract, which would have significant negative impact on a patient’s quality of life

. Possible stimulation of an immune response against the tumor

Read more about : Chemotherapy Procedure

Read more about : Chemo side effects

Cons:

The disadvantages of radiation therapy include:

. Damage to surrounding tissues (e.g. lung, heart), depending on how close the area of interest is located to the tumor

. Inability to kill tumor cells that cannot be seen on imaging scans and are therefore not always included on the 3D models (e.g. in near-by lymph nodes; metastatic disease) of radiation planning

. Inability to kill the all cancer cells in tumors (this is true in particularly large tumors)

. Inability to relieve mass effect (i.e. the pushing of tumor on surrounding normal structures) in certain parts of the body (e.g. brain), thereby requiring surgery

. Poor killing of cancer cells in areas that do not have a good supply of oxygen (e.g. in an area after surgery; in a limb with poor blood supply)

. Increased incidence in wound complication and poor healing (e.g. if surgery is used after radiation; or in parts without good circulation)

. Inconvenience of radiation therapy (e.g. in some cases it must be delivered daily, 5 days per week, for 1-2 months)

. Contraindications to radiation therapy (e.g. prior radiation; certain medical disorders)

Source:

. https://www.cancerquest.org/patients/treatments/radiation-therapy

 

10 common questions about Radiotherapy side effects

1What are the most common side effects of radiation therapy?
The most common early side effects are fatigue and skin problems. You might get others, such as hair loss and nausea, depending on where you get radiation.
2
Is radiotherapy worse than chemo? Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. The chemotherapy drugs can make cancer cells more sensitive to radiotherapy. This can help the radiotherapy to work better. ... Giving chemotherapy and radiotherapy together can make the side effects of treatment worse.
3What foods should I avoid during radiation?
Unpasteurized fruit juice or cider. Raw sprouts like alfalfa sprouts. Raw or undercooked beef (especially ground beef) or other raw or undercooked meat and poultry. Raw or undercooked shellfish, like oysters—These items may carry the hepatitis A virus and should be cooked thoroughly to destroy the virus
4What should you avoid during radiation?
Vitamins to Avoid During Radiation. Your radiation oncologist may tell you to avoid taking certain supplemental antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamins C, A, D, and E, while you're having radiation therapy. ... Throughout your treatment, do your best to eat a well-balanced diet that contains all of the vitamins you need
5Does radiation cause weight loss?
These substances can lead to weight loss, muscle loss, and a decrease in appetite. ... Radiation and chemotherapy often cause a decrease in appetite. They can also lead to side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and mouth sores, which can affect your ability to eat normally, further contributing to weight and muscle loss
6Can I work while having radiation therapy?
Radiation. You should be able to work while receiving radiation treatments. ... Radiation generally won't affect your ability to work: most people only have mild fatigue. For the greatest effectiveness from radiation therapy, once you start your treatment, it's essential to keep to a continuous schedule
7Can radiotherapy damage your lungs?
Radiotherapy can change the cells lining the lungs and cause a hardening and thickening (fibrosis) of the tissue. ... A short-term side effect that people may get 1–3 months after radiotherapy is inflammation of the lung (radiation pneumonitis). This causes symptoms such as breathlessness, a dry cough or chest pain.
8Does radiation stay in your body forever?
Their bodily fluids are not radioactive. Once the implant is removed, their body is radiation-free. Patients with permanent implants give off small doses of radiation as long as the radiation source is active – usually a few weeks or months
9Can cancer come back after radiotherapy?
Cancer may sometimes come back after cancer drug treatment or radiotherapy. ... Cells that were resting when you had your first treatment, may be dividing when you have your next and so will be more likely to die. But it is unlikely that any chemotherapy treatment will kill every single cancer cell in the body.
10What is the success rate of radiation therapy?
Radiation Therapy 95% Effective for Prostate Cancer Men with localised prostate cancer who are treated with external-beam radiation therapy have a cure rate of 95.5% for intermediate-risk prostate cancer and 91.3% for high-risk prostate cancer. The 5-year survival rate using this treatment is 98.8% overall

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