Radiation therapy treatment, also known as radiotherapy, is used in the treatment of cancer. Usually used to shrink tumors or to kill the cancer cells, high doses of radiation are used in the medical field. In order to see inside the body, this radiation is used in the X-rays. Also, it is used with the X-rays for the treatment of broken bones or teeth. In some special cases, radiotherapy is used in the treatment of blood disorders, noncancerous growths, and thyroid disease as well. Here is a guide to the different types of radiation therapies.
Different types of radiation therapy
This therapy is mainly of two types:
External beam radiation therapy
It is referred to as a local treatment that is used mostly to treat a specific part of the body. The radiation beams that are used in this type of radiation therapy treatment are made of three key particles—protons, electrons, and photons. The external beams come out of a large machine that may be a bit noisy and aim the radiation only at the cancer-affected body part. This means that if you are suffering from the lung cancer, the radiation beam will be aimed at only to the chest, not to the whole body.
This radiation therapy treatment includes several types like 3-D conformal radiation therapy, IGRT (Image-guided radiation therapy), Stereotactic radiosurgery, Tomotherapy, IMRT (Intensity-modulated radiation therapy), and Stereotactic body radiation therapy.
Internal radiation therapy
The radiation source is put inside the body in this radiation therapy. When the radiation source is liquid, the therapy is referred to as the systemic therapy that is used mostly to treat different types of thyroid cancer. Also, this therapy is used to treat the GEP-NET or advanced types of prostate cancer.
When the source is solid, it is known as brachytherapy. In order to treat any cancer in the body parts like the neck, breast, head, prostate, eye, and cervix, this type of radiation therapy treatment is used.
How to decide which treatment to be used?
Depending on the following aspects, healthcare professionals decide which radiation therapy has to be used:
- Tumor size
- Cancer type
- Location of the tumor in the body
- Normal tissues are very sensitive to the radiation. Hence, checking the distance between the tumor and the normal tissue is crucial.
- Patient’s medical history and general health condition
- Patient’s other medical conditions and age, etc.
Such types of radiotherapy have several side effects as well. Hence, it is advisable to undergo these therapies only under the medical guidance of your doctor.