Radiation therapy in Oncology: procedures and effects of treatment

The history of radiotherapy goes back to the first decade of the nineteenth century. French scientists A. Danlos, E. and Besnier have demonstrated the ability of radioactive substances to destroy the young, rapidly developing cells and decided to use it to fight with malignant tumors. So formed a method that demonstrates high efficacy to this day. Radiation therapy in Oncology, as a screwdriver in mechanics: without it, cancer and other dangerous diseases associated with tumors, is not possible. Read more about this in the continuation of the article.

Types of radiation therapy and their characteristics

The radiation therapy over the past fifty years, medicine has succeeded in the fight against cancer. Scientists have developed many specialized devices that provide a damaging effect on the cells of malignant tumors. Modern Arsenal of technical means intended for the treatment of cancer, has more than a dozen various devices and devices. Each of them has a role to play in the fight against tumors. Regarding the concept of radiation therapy, it covers a number of treatment methods, including:

  1. Alpha therapy. As the name implies, the basis of this method of treatment is the impact on the human body the alpha radiation. For this purpose some kinds quickly eye-catching and short-lived isotopes. This type of radiation therapy treatment is aimed at normalizing the functioning of the nervous and vegetative system, restore the functions of the endocrine glands, stabilization of natural processes in the cardiovascular system, etc.
  2. Beta therapy. Biological effects on the body the beta particles. The sources of the current element can be different isotopes. Described type of radiation therapy demonstrates high efficacy in the suppression of capillary angiomas and certain diseases of the eye.
  3. X-ray therapy. This type of radiation therapy involves the use of x-ray radiation with energy from 10 to 250 Kev. The higher the voltage, the greater the depth of penetration of the rays. Radiotherapy of small and average capacity is assigned for superficial lesions of skin and mucous membranes. Deep radiation exposure is used to deal with pathological foci located deep.
  4. Gamma-therapy. This technique is also indicated for those that have been identified malignant or benign cancer tumor. Electromagnetic gamma radiation is emitted at the expense of atom de-excitation of cells that represent a threat to human health.
  5. Neutron therapy. The technique is based on the ability of atoms to capture neutrons and convert them to emit //-quanta, which have powerful biological effects on target cells. Neutron therapy is prescribed for patients with severe resistant forms of cancer.
  6. Proton therapy. The unique method of treatment of malignant tumors of small size. Method proton beam therapy allows us to treat lesions that are located in close proximity to radiosensitive critical organs/structures.
  7. PI-meson therapy. The most advanced method of radiation therapy in Oncology. Based on the features of negative PI-mesons by nuclear particles, generated with the help of special equipment. These particles differ in a favourable dose distribution. Their biological efficiency leaves far behind all the above-described technology of radiation therapy. At the moment, the treatment of PI-mesons is available only in the United States and Switzerland.

Modern methods of conducting

Ways of carrying out the radiotherapy can be divided into two categories: remote and contact. To apply remote techniques, in which the source of irradiation is located at a certain distance from the patient’s body. Contact call treatments of radiation therapy performed with a tight wrap of the radiation source to the tumor. Learn more about each of these categories you will learn from the table below.


The name of the method

The principle of impact, especially



The source of radiation remains stationary during the entire session. Effect on the tumor can be single door and multiple (unilateral and multilateral irradiation).


The source is constantly moving around the patient. The beam of radiation is directed to the center of the tumor, which coincides with the maximum dose.



Irradiation of malignant or benign cancer tumors are determined for diseases localized on the surface of the skin, using special applicators to ensure even distribution of radiation.


The introduction of the patient radioactive drugs (oral or via blood). In this case the patient was isolated in a special ward.


Impact on cancer tumor are determined for diseases localized in abdominal organs, radioactive drugs. This technique of radiation therapy generally used to treat cervical/uterus, vagina, bladder, esophagus, rectum, and nasopharynx.


Irradiation of cancer tumors by injecting them with radioactive cobalt needles or sewing with special threads, filled with small cuts of iridium.

Indications for use in Oncology

Radiation therapy is a very serious and dangerous method of treatment, so it is prescribed in cases of absolute relevance, and not otherwise. Treatment with radioactive drugs may need to people with problems such as:

  • brain tumor;
  • cancer of the prostate and/or prostate;
  • cancer of the breast and the chest area;
  • lung cancer;
  • cancer of the uterus and the pelvic area;
  • skin cancer;
  • cancer of the larynx;
  • cancer of the lip;
  • a tumor in the abdomen – in the rectum, stomach, etc.

How is the course of treatment

After the detection of cancer tumor patient is undergoing tests to determine the optimal treatment strategy. The first thing doctors choose the scheme of a course of radiation therapy. The average duration of a cycle of treatment with radioactive drugs is 30-50 days. When it comes to planning surgery to remove the tumor is assigned a short two-week course of radiotherapy to reduce the size of tumors. After surgery, treatment with radioactive drugs may need to combat residual tumor fragments.

When a patient comes in for a session of radiation therapy, he is asked to sit in a special chair or lie on a table (as shown in photo). To pre-marked areas of the body fail irradiating device. Medical staff set up the machine according to your doctor’s instructions and leave the room. The total duration of the procedure radiation therapy is 20-30 minutes. During this time the patient should sit still and try to relax. If there is strong discomfort, you should immediately inform the doctor through a microphone.

How is the recovery

In the process of tumor treatment of cancer by radiological methods the body exposed to direct influence of radionuclide particles. Yes, chemotherapy gives a strong fight back the cancer tumors, but human health also not weak suffers. Free radicals affect not only cancer cells, but also tissue and internal organs. As a result, developed radiation sickness. After radiotherapy required total rehabilitation for stabilization. The complex of rehabilitation measures after radiation therapy includes:

  1. Drug support. Doctors take note of the intensity of exposure suffered by the patient during the radiation therapy, and prescribed a special antihistamine/anti-bacterial agents and vitamin complexes.
  2. Healthy eating. Radiation for cancer disrupts many natural processes in the human body. For their normalization requires the replacement of reserves of useful components. Doctors recommend to follow a diet for at least 6 months after completion of radiation therapy. Food should be light and natural. Instead of frying is to use a steamer. From fatty foods need to give up. Specialists in Oncology say that the particular efficiency demonstrates smaller meals after radiation therapy.
  3. Strengthening exercises. Gentle exercise is beneficial for everyone, not to mention the people who have Oncology, radiology and radiation therapy. To improve their condition and avoid complications, exercise. Keep the body toned, and rehabilitation will be promoted much faster.
  4. The herbal medicine. Popular herbal teas will be a good addition to all above-listed measures of recovery after treatment in Oncology. Your body must get a wide range of nutrients, as soon as possible to eliminate the symptoms.

Possible side effects and consequences

The impact of radiation on the cancer tumor may not have consequences for the human body. After a course of radiation therapy, patients may experience the following side effects and complications:

  • deterioration of the General condition accompanied by fever, weakness, dizziness, intermittent nausea when swallowing;
  • dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract;
  • dysfunction of the cardiovascular system;
  • hematopoietic disorders;
  • irritation of the mucous membranes;
  • hair loss;
  • pain and swelling at the application site of radiation therapy.

In some patients the effects of radiation can be transported with minimal complications and side effects of local character. After treatment, skin often appears dry epidermis, itch and flaking. Intracavitary radiation therapy may cause light or medium metabolic disorders. After irradiation of malignant tumors are determined for diseases localized deep inside, often sore muscles.

Contraindications to radiation exposure

Radiation therapy in Oncology – an indispensable tool for combating tumors, but not all people can subject themselves to this test. Contraindications to treatment with radiation are the following factors/condition/disease:

  • anemia;
  • low white blood cell count;
  • the decrease in the number of platelets;
  • cachexia;
  • allergic dermatitis;
  • pulmonary/cardiac failure;
  • myocardial infarction;
  • kidney disease;
  • disease of the Central nervous system;
  • decompensated diabetes mellitus.

Video: what is radiation therapy in Oncology

Reviews patients

Valentina, 32 years: don’t quite understand the role of radiation therapy in Oncology until faced with it face to face. During routine examination revealed Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Subsequent diagnostics indicated the need for urgent radiotherapy. Was prescribed 6-week course in conjunction with medications and other treatments. Spent 2 months in Oncology, but, but now doctors say that the tumor was eliminated. Soon going back to work.

Victor, 37 years: the Son was born with a hemangioma on his shoulder. The doctors assured that it’s not scary. A month later, the spot started to increase very rapidly in size and appears like a tumor. Called an ambulance, his wife and child were taken to the radiation Oncology Department. The doctors said she needed radiotherapy radionuclide therapy. ‘ve spent the money, took the baby in one of the best clinics of Moscow. The treatment was successful. The effects of radiation were minimal, thanks to the skillful doctors.

Angela, 48 years: When her daughter was prescribed radiation therapy in Oncology, I was so worried that the heart attack was not captured. We did a 5-week course of ionizing radiation and the cycle of treatments with laser. After that, another 3 months of outpatient follow up on the recommendations. A week ago on the follow-up examination, we were told that everything was OK. Finally it ended! Only small spot left that looks like a burn.

Snezhana, 28 years: In Oncology, I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Said like something with appendages, therefore, an urgent need to begin radiation therapy. The exit had no choice but to agree. The doctors said that a new treatment is effective by 95%. The course went well. Now I sit at home and recover. Health leaves much to be desired, but that’s not important. The danger had passed, and this is important!

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