Radiation therapy vs chemotherapy

Is radiation therapy better than chemotherapy?

Radiation therapy involves giving high doses of radiation beams directly into a tumor. The radiation beams change the DNA makeup of the tumor, causing it to shrink or die. This type of cancer treatment has fewer side effects than chemotherapy since it only targets one area of the body.

What comes first chemo or radiation?

You may be wondering in what order you’ll have treatments and how your doctors decide which one comes first, second, etc. In general, when it’s part of your treatment plan, chemotherapy is usually given first after surgery . Radiation then follows chemotherapy — it’s not usually given at the same time.

Is radiation therapy painful?

It is the most common radiation therapy treatment for cancer. Each session is quick, lasting about 15 minutes. Radiation does not hurt , sting, or burn when it enters the body. You will hear clicking or buzzing throughout the treatment and there may be a smell from the machine.

What is the success rate of radiation therapy?

When it comes to early stages of disease, patients very frequently do well with either brachytherapy or external beam radiation . Success rates of around 90% or higher can be achieved with either approach.

What are the disadvantages of radiation therapy?

Radiation not only kills or slows the growth of cancer cells, it can also affect nearby healthy cells. Damage to healthy cells can cause side effects. Many people who get radiation therapy have fatigue. Treatment Areas and Possible Side Effects Fatigue. Hair loss. Nausea and vomiting. Skin changes. Headache. Blurry vision.

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How long is a session of radiation therapy?

In most instances, treatments are usually spread out over several weeks to allow your healthy cells to recover in between radiation therapy sessions . Expect each treatment session to last approximately 10 to 30 minutes.

Does chemotherapy shorten your life?

Cancer survivors tend to have shorter telomeres than normal persons at the same age. This means that they are older than their actual years. It could be the intensive and toxic chemotherapy and radiation therapy that has led to this finding say researchers.

Does radiation weaken your immune system?

Radiation therapy can potentially affect your immune system , especially if a significant amount of bone marrow is being irradiated because of its role in creating white blood cells. However, this doesn’t typically suppress the immune system enough to make you more susceptible to infections.

How long after radiation do you start to feel better?

Early side effects, such as nausea and fatigue, usually don’t last long . They may start during or right after treatment and last for several weeks after it ends, but then they get better . Late side effects, such as lung or heart problems, may take years to show up and are often permanent when they do .

Do you lose your hair with radiation therapy?

Hair loss. Radiation therapy can cause hair to be thinned or lost in the area being treated. For instance, radiation to your head may cause you to lose some or all the hair on your head (even eyebrows and lashes), but if you get treatment to your hip, you won’t lose the hair on your head.

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What should you avoid during radiation?

Foods to avoid or reduce during radiation therapy include sodium (salt), added sugars, solid (saturated) fats, and an excess of alcohol. Some salt is needed in all diets. Your doctor or dietitian can recommend how much salt you should consume based on your medical history.

How long does it take radiation to shrink tumors?

For tumors that divide slowly, the mass may shrink over a long, extended period after radiation stops. The median time for a prostate cancer to shrink is about 18 months (some quicker, some slower).

Can u drink alcohol while having radiotherapy?

Alcohol during radiotherapy Usually it is fine to have small or moderate amounts of alcohol during your treatment. But alcohol can inflame a sore mouth or throat if you are having radiotherapy to your head or neck area.

What is the most common acute side effect of radiation treatment?

Fatigue is the most common acute side effect of radiation therapy. It is believed to be caused by the tremendous amount of energy that is used by the body to heal itself in response to radiation therapy.

Does radiation extend life?

Summary: The first report from a phase II, multi-center clinical trial indicates that a newer, more aggressive form of radiation therapy — stereotactic radiation — can extend long-term survival for some patients with stage-IV cancers while maintaining their quality of life .

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