June 19, 2024

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Patients should understand these 10 questions beofore radiotherapy

Patients should understand these 10 questions beofore radiotherapy

Patients should understand these 10 questions beofore radiotherapy.  Cancer cells begin to die a few days or weeks after radiotherapy, and tumor cell necrosis will continue for several weeks or months after radiotherapy.

Attention: This article is only for science sharing, please consult your doctor for treatment-related issues.

Patients should understand these 10 questions beofore radiotherapy


1. What is radiotherapy?

Radiotherapy, the full name of radiotherapy, is a therapy that emits high-energy rays to the tumor area to kill cancer cells and try to avoid harming normal cells. After this high-energy rays are absorbed by human tissues, electrons are released from atoms or molecules to form free radicals, which is a chemically active substance that can destroy tumor tissues.

According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), the contribution rates of surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy to cancer treatment are 27%, 22%, and 6%, respectively. According to statistics, approximately 70% of cancer patients require radiotherapy at different stages of disease development. In western developed countries, about 60 to 70% of cancer patients receive radiotherapy, but in China only 30% of patients receive radiotherapy.


2. What are the advantages of radiotherapy?

Radiotherapy is a non-invasive treatment method, which is an “invisible master” in killing tumors. It uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and minimize the impact on normal cells.

Radiotherapy can be used to treat a variety of cancers in almost every part of the body. Radiotherapy can completely eliminate or shrink tumors, reduce tumor invasion ability, so that inoperable patients can regain surgical treatment opportunities, or destroy cancer cells that may remain after surgery.

For some advanced cancers, when the tumor is too large and the cancer cells invade extensively, and surgery cannot completely remove the tumor tissue cells, radiotherapy is often used to control the tumor lesions to reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life of patients.


3. Which tumors need radiotherapy?

Existing statistics show that about 70% of patients with malignant tumors require radiotherapy at different stages of disease development. However, for each specific patient, whether to use radiotherapy should be determined in accordance with the principles of standardized treatment of tumors, the development stage of the tumor and the patient’s physical condition.

Clinically suitable malignant tumors for radiotherapy include: nasopharyngeal cancer, laryngeal cancer, tonsil cancer, tongue cancer, malignant lymphoma, cervical cancer, skin cancer, brain tumor, esophageal cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, rectal cancer, bone tumor, Liver cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, etc.

TOMO radiotherapy re-delimits the “curable” and “incurable” radiotherapy, which can be applied to any part of the body even the most complex cases, such as multiple metastatic brain tumors, head and neck, lung, liver and abdomen tumors, and pelvic gynecology Tumor, prostate, multiple metastatic lesions throughout the body, whole brain and spinal cord, and whole body bone marrow radiotherapy and other complicated situations.


4. How long does radiotherapy take effect?

Unlike the immediate effect after surgical removal of the cancer, the effect of radiotherapy is “delayed.” Because radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to destroy the genetic material DNA of cancer cells, or reduce the blood supply of cancer cells, causing cancer cells to die slowly. Therefore, cancer cells begin to die a few days or weeks after radiotherapy, and tumor cell necrosis will continue for several weeks or months after radiotherapy.

If the planned radiotherapy plan has been completed and the patient’s cancer has not disappeared, it can be observed for 1 to 2 months; if the re-examination shows that the tumor has not disappeared, the tumor that can be operated on the surface can be removed by surgery, and the tumor that cannot be operated can be removed. Cooperate with chemotherapy, traditional Chinese medicine, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, etc.


5. Are the side effects of radiotherapy serious?

Radiotherapy uses radiation to kill tumors, which is invisible to the naked eye. While the radiation kills tumor cells, it will inevitably cause damage to normal cells within the irradiation range. This kind of radiation damage to normal tissues will gradually recover after radiotherapy. At the beginning of radiotherapy, patients will not experience the pain caused by radiotherapy, but as the radiotherapy continues, the degree of cancer cell necrosis is gradually increasing, and the degree of damage to normal tissue cells will also increase. At this time, there will be corresponding normal tissue damage. Performance, this phenomenon is called an acute response to radiotherapy, (such as radiotherapy esophagitis, the patient will feel pain in the esophagus when swallowing, etc.). The doctor will deal with these side effects of radiotherapy, and the patient cannot give up the opportunity of tumor treatment because of this temporary radiotherapy reaction.

It is worth mentioning that in TOMO radiotherapy, the patient lies on the treatment bed and moves synchronously with the narrow intensity-modulated beam given by the rotating gantry. The precise dose and precise positioning ensure that only the tumor tissue is killed and protected. Normal tissue, so the probability of side effects is smaller and side effects are milder.


6. What are the benefits of radiotherapy before and after surgery?

The purpose of preoperative and postoperative radiotherapy is to increase the local control rate and improve the prognosis.

Preoperative radiotherapy can reduce the spread of cancer cells, reduce the rate of lymphatic metastasis, and expand the chance of resection of recurrent tumors.

Postoperative radiotherapy can eliminate incomplete surgical resection and residual lesions. For cancer patients who have residual tumors in the surgical area, if they are sensitive to radiation, they should receive postoperative radiotherapy.


7. Will radiotherapy make people radioactive?

Generally, there is no radioactivity in the human body after external beam radiation therapy, because the radioactive source is in a machine at a certain distance outside the body, so the patient can be intimately with relatives and friends after radiotherapy.

In internal exposure, the radioactive source must be placed in the body. The organs near the radioactive source will be radioactive. Patients receiving internal exposure should pay attention to protecting the surrounding personnel.

Systemic radiotherapy is to inject radioactive elements into blood vessels (such as radioactive element strontium in the treatment of multiple bone metastases). These radioactive elements will reach the tumor and other parts of the body with the bloodstream, and will be excreted into saliva, urine and other secretions as the body is metabolized. in. Therefore, the patient must protect the surrounding people and handle excrement within a certain period of time.


8. Will radiotherapy affect marriage and fertility?

Whether radiation therapy affects the patient’s fertility depends on the location of the radiation therapy.

If the testicles or ovaries are in the radiation field, then radiotherapy will affect fertility. Because the human testes or ovaries are very sensitive to radiation, the testicles are exposed to radiation doses of 3.5-6Gy and the ovaries are exposed to radiation doses of 2.5-6Gy, which may cause permanent infertility. If the testicles or ovaries are not in the irradiation field, or if they are close to the irradiation field but properly protected, it can also ensure that the fertility function will not be affected.

For patients who are not married, they should first concentrate on treating the disease. After two years of healing, you can consider personal marriage events. In general, it is better for patients with radiotherapy to consider giving birth more than two years after radiotherapy is cured.

For radiotherapy patients with fertility needs, if necessary, sperm can be frozen before radiotherapy for men and unilateral oophorectomy for women. Sperm or ovarian activation should be performed when fertility is needed. For specific conditions, please consult the Center for Reproductive Medicine.


9. Can I participate in cultural and sports activities during the radiotherapy period?

Appropriate cultural entertainment and physical exercise can be carried out during the treatment of cancer patients. In the process of rehabilitation, cultivating a certain life interest will help rehabilitation, such as doing qigong, listening to music, painting, playing chess, walking, and practicing Tai Chi. Appropriate cultural and sports activities are beneficial to mental and physical rehabilitation.


10. Do I have to be hospitalized for radiotherapy?

Cancer patients do not have to be hospitalized during radiotherapy.

Patients who are in good general condition and the radiotherapy site does not cause obvious side effects can receive daily radiotherapy in the outpatient clinic without hospitalization under the guidance of a doctor.

However, it is best to be hospitalized for patients who are elderly, weak, and in poor physical condition, or who are prone to complications from radiotherapy. This can avoid and reduce accidents.

After radiotherapy, the patient is best to rest in bed for 1 to 2 hours, which is conducive to the recovery of normal body functions.

(source:internet, reference only)

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