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Kidney Cancer Treatment and Radiation Therapy

In the treatment of kidney cancer, there are a number of treatment options. Surgical procedures designed to remove as much of the tumor is a viable option if the cancer is localized and can be reached and removed without causing undue harm to the surrounding healthy kidney tissue. However kidney cancer radiation may also be used alone or in conjunction with other types of treatment to improve the overall effectiveness. So let’s discuss kidney cancer radiation and explain some of the benefits as well as drawbacks or expected side effects. 

Kidney cancer radiation is a type of treatment which uses radiation to attack cancer cells.  It may involve external radiation therapy in which a beam of radiation is directed as precisely as possible to the area in the kidney which contains cancer cells.  It may be possible to use an internal technique which involves the use of radioactive pellets placed inside of the kidney very close to the cancer. 

Either way the goal is to the kill cancer cells as effectively as possible.  One of the kill considerations when it comes to radiation therapy is that while the radiation often does a good job of killing cancer cells, it can also harm healthy tissue. 

So procedures are designed to minimize the exposure of healthy tissue and apply the highest possible radiation dosage to the cancer within the kidney.  However it is important to note that radiation therapy is not often used as a primary course of treatment.  This is because most kidney cancers are not very sensitive to radiation.  But kidney radiation may be used in the case where a patient is not a suitable candidate for surgery which is a common option. 

Kidney cancer radiation may be a good way to ease some of the symptoms of kidney cancer rather than try to cure them.  It can help with pain management and also help to slow down the progression of the disease to other organs.  This course of treatment may be a suitable option for cases of advanced kidney cancer in which the cancer has spread and affected other organs. 

There are a number of side effects from this type of therapy which should be mentioned.  In many cases there can be changes to the skin where the radiation beam enters the body.  Some patients have also reported experiencing nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue.  In some cases a patient may lose his/her hair.  Keep in mind that many of side effects tend to go away once treatment has stopped. 

When radiation therapy is applied, the typical application is to provide lower doses of radiation over a longer period of time.  This helps to minimize the damage to surrounding tissue and reduce some side effects.  Again as mentioned earlier, it is difficult to apply beams of radiation only to the cancerous area and have no effect on healthy tissue nearby.  So these measured times and dosages help to enable the body to heal and regenerate.  In the long run, it helps to provide the best results from this type of therapy.