How does radiation therapy work to treat cancer

Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is a cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors . At low doses, radiation is used in x-rays to see inside your body, as with x-rays of your teeth or broken bones. At high doses, radiation therapy kills cancer cells or slows their growth by damaging their DNA.

What is radiation therapy and how is it used to treat cancer?

Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is a cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors . At low doses, radiation is used in x-rays to see inside your body, as with x-rays of your teeth or broken bones. At high doses, radiation therapy kills cancer cells or slows their growth by damaging their DNA.

What are the pros and cons of radiation therapy?

The pros would be it can destroy tissue , and some of this tissue is cancerous. The cons would be it can destroy tissue, and some of this tissue is NOT cancer. Radiation treatment is always a risk, just like any other. But advancement in radiation therapy has kept pace with other medical procedure and treatment.

How long does it take to recover from radiation treatment?

The general effects of radiation therapy like fatigue, nausea, and headaches resolve fairly quickly after treatment. Your body just needs time to process the radiation but can recover within a few weeks.

What are the long term effects of radiation?

Long-term side effects of radiation can include. persistent dry mouth/throat. swallowing dysfunction. increased risk of cavities or complications after dental procedures. stiffness or tanning of irradiated tissues. spinal cord or nerve damage – very rare. low thyroid.

How does radiation kill cancer if it causes cancer?

Radiation works in two ways to kill cancer cells. First, the energy that makes up the radiation directly damages the DNA of any cells that it hits. It damages DNA in such a way that the cell is no longer able to divide and grow, thus, it eventually dies. Second, the radiation ionizes (in a sense, “charges up”) water molecules near the cancer cells.

Why is radiation effective in treating cancer?

Radiation therapy works because the radiation destroys the cancer cells’ ability to reproduce, and the body naturally gets rid of these cells. Radiation affects cancer cells by damaging their DNA, so that the cancer cells can no longer divide and grow. Radiation is most effective at killing cells that are actively dividing.

What types of cancer may be caused by radiation?

Because of bone marrow’s sensitivity to radiation, the most common radiation induced cancer is Leukemia. Radiation can cause cancer in any part of the body, but it is most commonly linked to lung cancer, skin cancer, thyroid cancer, multiple myeloma, breast cancer, and stomach cancer.

What is the success rate for radiation on cancer?

Prostate cancer radiation treatment survival rate – Men with a local prostate cancer are treated with an external beam therapy rate of 95.5% treatment for prostate cancer at an average risk and 91.3% for prostate cancer at high risk. The 5-year survival rate using this treatment is 98.8% overall.