‘We all know that ‘high dose radiation’ can itself cause cancer, therefore knowing and understanding our treatment options is really important!!‘
Have you ever been given the opportunity to discuss your Radiation Treatment options??? I would imagine the answer in most cases is a resounding ‘NO’!! Most people will attest to being led down the radiation track, a track that they had no understanding about, only to find out later about the life long impact radiation treatment can unduly cause.
Did you also know that ‘HYPOXIC cancer cells in tumors are NOT affected by radiation and most conventional chemotherapeutic agents’!!
There are many different treatment options available, therefore it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of these various therapies, which can be discussed with your radiation oncologist who is an expert at deciding which of these modalities is the best choice of radiation therapy in your particular circumstance. Gaining a better understanding can help you make informed choices, feel more in control and be empowered to ask questions, so that you too have some input in your own personal health journey.
‘Radiation therapy can be classified according to the various types of radiation particles or waves that are used to deliver the treatment, such as photons, electrons, or protons. With major improvements in technology, computers, imaging, and immobilization over the past decade, radiation oncologists now have the option of treating some tumors with fewer numbers of fractions, with technologies such as ‘Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy’ (SBRT)’.
Have you ever heard of ‘3D Conformal Radiation Therapy’ which targets tumors directly without damaging surrounding tissue? Or what about Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), which is another way to deliver the same photons to treat a tumor, but with the potential to lower the high doses of radiation that healthy structures would normally have to endure.
As you can see, there are so many radiation treatments now available and many more new therapies currently being developed, as part of a multi-pronged approach to cancer healing. The important factor is to develop an individualized treatment plan as ‘one size does not fit all‘, which may consist of a combination of therapies, with the intention of reducing tumor size, to minimize the risks to surrounding tissues and organs, targeting ‘hypoxic and oxic cancerous cells‘, all with the aim of destroying and/or reverting cancer cells back into normal cells.