Radiation Therapy -

To understand how radiation therapy is helpful in advanced cancers we need to first know the complete elements of radiation therapy, which shall help us understand how Art of Healing Cancer brings all these elements together for either curative or palliative care.

What is Radiation Therapy in Treatment of Cancer?

Radiation therapy is a common cancer treatment that uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells or stop their growth. Radiation therapy can be used alone or in combination with other cancer treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy.

There are two types of radiation therapy: external beam radiation therapy and internal beam radiation therapy.

  • External beam radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to direct the energy beams at the cancer.
  • Internal beam radiation therapy places radioactive material inside the body near the cancer cells.

Radiation therapy can be used to treat many different types of cancer, including brain tumors, breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and more.

What is External Beam Radiation

External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) is the most common type of radiation therapy. During EBRT, a machine called a linear accelerator delivers high-energy beams of radiation to the cancerous area. This type of radiation therapy can be used to treat cancers in almost any part of the body.
IMRT is a newer type of EBRT that allows the radiation beams to be more precisely targeted to the cancerous area while sparing healthy tissue. IMRT is often used to treat cancers in difficult-to-reach areas, such as the brain or spine.
IGRT is a type of EBRT that uses images taken just before each radiation treatment to precisely target the cancerous area. IGRT is often used to treat tumors that move around, such as those in the lung or prostate.
SRS is a type of radiation therapy that delivers very high doses of radiation to small, well-defined areas. SRS is often used to treat brain tumors and other cancers in sensitive areas where damage to healthy tissue must be minimized.
stereotactic body radiation therapy, is a type of radiation therapy that uses high doses of radiation to target cancerous cells. This type of radiation therapy is typically used to treat small tumors that are located in specific areas of the body. SBRT can be an effective treatment option for patients who are unable to have surgery or who have tumors that are difficult to reach with traditional radiation therapy.
Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) is a type of radiation treatment that is given during surgery. IORT can be used to treat cancer in any part of the body. The radiation is targeted directly at the tumor, so it may spare healthy tissue from exposure. IORT may be recommended for people who have cancer that cannot be removed completely by surgery. It may also be an option for people who have already had radiation therapy and need more treatment. IORT can be done as part of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), or it can be done alone.
Proton beam radiation therapy (PBRT) is a type of EBRT that uses beams of protons, instead of X-rays, to treat cancer. PBRT can be very effective in treating cancer while minimizing damage to healthy tissue.
It is a form of cancer treatment that involves the placement of radioactive material directly into or near a tumor. This allows for a high dose of radiation to be delivered directly to the cancer cells, while sparing the surrounding healthy tissue. Brachytherapy can be used to treat a variety of cancers, including prostate, breast, cervical, and skin cancer. The type of brachytherapy treatment will vary depending on the type and stage of cancer being treated.

What is Internal Beam Radiation?

Systemic radiation therapy, also called internal radiation therapy, is a type of radiation therapy that involves taking a radioactive substance by mouth or injection and allowing it to circulate throughout the body. This type of radiation therapy is often used to treat cancers of the blood, such as leukemia and lymphoma.
Radioactive iodine (I-131) is a common form of systemic radiation therapy that is used to treat thyroid cancer. I-131 is taken by mouth in the form of a capsule or solution and allowed to circulate through the bloodstream. The iodine collects in the thyroid, where it destroys cancer cells.
Radioactive phosphorus (P-32) is a form of systemic radiation therapy that is used to treat certain types of leukemia and lymphoma. P-32 is injected into a vein and allowed to circulate throughout the body. The phosphorus collects in cancer cells and destroys them.
It is a minimally invasive procedure that uses radioactive microspheres to treat cancer. The microspheres are injected into the artery that supplies blood to the tumor. As the microspheres travel through the body, they release radiation directly to the tumor, damaging the DNA of cancer cells and causing them to die.RE is an effective treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), liver metastases, and neuroendocrine tumors. It can be used as a standalone treatment or in combination with other therapies such as surgery, ablation, or chemotherapy.

Dosing in Radiation Therapy

The amount of radiation delivered to the patient is called the dose. The dose is measured in units of Gray (Gy). A Gray is a unit of energy absorbed by matter. One Gray is equivalent to 100 rads. Doses are typically given in fractions of a Gray, such as 0.5 Gy or 1 Gy.

The total dose of radiation administered to a patient depends on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer being treated, the specific goals of therapy, and the patient’s overall health. Doses are usually given in daily fractions over the course of several weeks.

Radiation doses are carefully calculated to deliver the maximum possible amount of radiation to the tumor while sparing healthy tissue. The dose is typically broken up into smaller “fractions” that are administered over the course of several weeks. This allows the healthy cells to recover from the effects of radiation between treatments.

The total dose of radiation delivered to a patient during radiation therapy can range from 30 Gy to 60 Gy. The most common side effects of radiation therapy include fatigue, skin reactions, and hair loss. More severe side effects may occur with higher doses of radiation.

Radiation in Palliative Care

Radiation therapy is a common treatment for cancer, but it can also be used to relieve pain and other symptoms in patients with terminal illnesses. Radiation can be administered externally, from a machine outside the body, or internally, through implants or injections.

There are many benefits to using radiation in palliative care, including the fact that it is non-invasive, has few side effects, and is often effective in relieving pain and other symptoms. Radiation can also be used to shrink tumors, which can help relieve pressure on vital organs and improve quality of life.

Low Dose Radiation Therapy with Immunotherapy

Low dose radiation therapy (LDRT) is a type of cancer treatment that uses very low doses of ionizing radiation to kill cancer cells. It is sometimes used as an alternative to standard radiation therapy, which uses higher doses of radiation.

LDRT works by damaging the DNA of cancer cells. This damage prevents the cells from growing and dividing, which eventually leads to their death. LDRT can also help the immune system kill cancer cells by releasing antigens, which are substances that stimulate an immune response.

There are a number of potential benefits to using LDRT, including:

  • Reduced side effects: Because LDRT uses lower doses of radiation, it is associated with fewer side effects than standard radiation therapy.
  • Increased effectiveness: LDRT may be more effective at killing cancer cells than standard radiation therapy, due to the release of antigens.
  • Shorter treatment duration: LDRT is typically given in shorter courses than standard radiation therapy, which may be easier for some patients to tolerate.