The branch of medicine dealing with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer is called oncology. The subdivisions of oncology include medical oncology, radiation oncology and surgical oncology. Cancer is an umbrella term for a group of diseases which involves abnormal cell growth causing potential invasion to other parts of the body and the branch of science dealing with the treatment of cancer is oncology.
Radiotherapy is a kind of cancer treatment which involves the usage of high energy rays, such as X-rays or rays of electrons to treat the disease. In this therapy, the cancer cells are destroyed using these rays. Normal cells along with the cancerous cells also get destroyed due to exposure to the strong rays. However, normal cells can restore themselves but cancerous cells cannot.
Radiotherapy is planned very carefully to avoid the damage to as many healthy tissues as possible. However, damage to some healthy tissues is inevitable, which is the major side effect of this treatment.
Usage of Radiotherapy
A lot of patients with cancer have radiotherapy as a part of their cancer treatment. The reasons behind using radiotherapy could be-
Ways of Radiotherapy Treatment
There are two ways in which radiotherapy is commonly given-
The type of radiotherapy to be given to the patient depends on the type of cancer the patient has and the body part which is affected by it. Some cancers require both external and internal radiotherapy.
In certain situations, chemotherapy is required to be given to the patients along with radiotherapy. This is called chemo radiotherapy or chemo radiation. Chemotherapy basically uses anti-cancer drugs which make the cancerous cells more sensitive to radiotherapy, thereby enhancing the treatment process. However, both these therapies are very powerful, each with their own side effects. Hence, chemo radiation can sometimes have worse side effects.
This is just the basic overview of radiotherapy. One important thing that should be kept in mind is that radiotherapy treatments are planned depending on the condition of the patient. So even if two individuals suffer from the same type of cancer, the radiotherapy treatments might be different.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!