4 Things You Should Know About Radiation Treatment

Posted on: 7 January 2016

If you suffer from leukemia or other forms of cancer, one of the best bets you have toward the road to recovery is to engage in radiation treatment. Radiation treatment can provide you with numerous benefits and can often times place cancer in remission, especially if the cancerous growth is caught early. There are also numerous side effects that radiation treatment can cause to your body. Throughout the course of this brief article, you will learn about 4 specific things you should know about radiation treatment.

It Stops the Quick Growth of Cancer Cells

The way that radiation treatment works is that it damages the DNA inside of cells. It specifically targets cancerous cells and attempts to destroy the DNA that is inside of said cells. Cancer cells are known for growing at a rapid pace and dividing—and therefore multiplying—at any time that they possibly can. Radiation treatment will significantly slow this process down. Although you will be at risk for having your normal, healthy cells being destroyed, these cells can often recover from the process. The overall goal of radiation treatment is to destroy as many cancerous cells as possible while leaving your healthy cells relatively intact.

It Works in Conjunction With Other Treatments

Many times radiation treatment is used as a standalone treatment for cancer, although it can be used in tandem with other treatments to enhance the effects of both treatments and can sometimes make for a speedier recovery. Among the most common forms of treatments that radiation therapy is used in conjunction with are surgery and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy can be used to destroy any cells that are leftover after a patient undergoes surgery, for example, in order to ensure that the cancer does not regrow itself and is placed in remission. Radiosensitizers are often used in tandem with radiation treatment; these are drugs that are used to increase the effectiveness of the radiation.

It Comes with Side Effects

Among the most common early side effects of radiation treatment are changes in your skin and fatigue. Most people who undergo radiation therapy notice that they are significantly more tired throughout the day than they were before they underwent radiation therapy, and sometimes activities that normally would not be a source of fatigue tend to wear people out. You may notice that your skin undergoes several strange changes, as well. For example, you might notice a yellowish hue to your skin, or that your skin is less elastic than it used to be.

You Could Lead a Normal Life

Although radiation therapy can cause a number of side effects to your body's overall health, most people can lead a normal, healthy life, especially if their cancer has not progressed too far and the patient has undergone the treatment. Going back to work can be a bit more difficult than you expected, but luckily, federal laws mandate that employers cannot fire or make drastic changes to an employee's schedule due to the fact that they have to miss work because of radiation treatment. Social workers can provide you with a more robust overview of this information, and the American Cancer Society also helps to provide those who have underwent radiation therapy with information on how they can readjust to school or work life.

Radiation therapy can be a great way to combat malignant forms of cancer. However, it is smart to be aware of the side effects that it can cause in your body. Hopefully, this brief article has shed a bit of light on what receiving radiation therapy entails. For more information, consult resources like Cancer & Blood Specialists of Nevada.