Radiation Therapy


Definition

Radiation therapy is one of several treatments used to treat cancer by itself or in combination with other forms of treatment, most often surgery or chemotherapy. It is also called radiotherapy and in this procedure high-energy rays are used to damage cancer cells and stop them from growing and dividing. Besides destroying cancer cells, radiation therapy can also harm normal cells. Normal cells are more likely to recover from its effects, though, and your child’s health care team will take extensive measures to carefully monitor radiation doses to protect healthy tissue.

Purpose of Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment. Its goal is to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Unlike cancer cells, most of your normal cells recover from radiation therapy. Radiotherapy may be used for curative or adjuvant treatment.

  • Curative or therapeutic treatment – the therapy has survival benefit and it can be curative. Radiation may be used as a means of curing cancer such as Hodgkin’s disease, testicular seminomas, localized cancers of the head and neck and cancers of the uterine cervix.
  • Palliative treatment – cure is not possible and the aim is for local disease control or symptomatic relief. It is frequently used to relieve symptoms of metastatic disease, especially when the cancer has spread to brain, bone or soft tissue or to treat oncologic emergencies such as superior vena cava syndrome or spinal cord compression.
  • Adjunct therapy – It is also common to combine radiotherapy with surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy or some mixture of the four. Because every case is different, each child’s cancer treatment will also be unique. Some kids receive radiation therapy alone, while others need both radiation and chemotherapy (the use of medicines to destroy cancer cells). And some kids require radiation therapy and surgery to remove tumors or cancerous areas.

Daisy Jane Antipuesto RN MN

Currently a Nursing Local Board Examination Reviewer. Subjects handled are Pediatric, Obstetric and Psychiatric Nursing. Previous work experiences include: Clinical instructor/lecturer, clinical coordinator (Level II), caregiver instructor/lecturer, NC2 examination reviewer and staff/clinic nurse. Areas of specialization: Emergency room, Orthopedic Ward and Delivery Room. Also an IELTS passer.

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