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Pancreatic Cancer Treatment and Radiation

Pancreatic cancer is the tenth most commonly found cancer and a significant cause of cancer-related fatalities. The detection of pancreatic cancer is highly difficult. By the time patient is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it gets proliferated to the final stage where survival becomes almost impossible. This is a deadly form of cancer directly affecting the ducts that carry the juices of the pancreas. In order to prevent the spread of pancreatic cancer to other organs like liver, lymph nodes and lungs, radiation therapy is suggested to patients. This is an effective radiation treatment that inhibits extreme multiplication of the cancerous cells in pancreas and prevents its malignancy.  

Treatment methodology: 

The first step in the pancreatic cancer treatment is to remove the cancerous growth through surgery. This is called the surgical resection in the pancreas. However, just surgery alone cannot completely remove the cancer from the body. In order to remove every trace and hint of cancerous cells from the pancreas combination of radiation therapy with surgical procedure needs to be applied. Sometimes doctors also suggest chemotherapy and pancreatic cancer radiation therapy keeping in mind the extent and the enormity of the disease.  

There are two method of subjecting radiation on a patient. The first is the external radiation method wherein an external machine is used to transmit X-rays inside patient’s affected organ. Another method is the internal radiation method where the radioactive materials are enclosed in needles or catheters and inserted inside the body.  

Advantages of External Radiation Therapy 

This is an outpatient process and does not involve any risk or complication in comparison to a major surgery. There are hardly any bleeding, cuts, stitches, pain or stroke associated. 

It is a simple and a painless procedure without any incision involved. 

External radiation therapy is safe for the pancreatic patient. The patient can follow his day to day activities normally simultaneously with this treatment. 

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy 

When conventional radiation therapy fails to impress the pancreatic cancer patient, Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) is considered an appropriate option for enhanced results. This advanced radiation therapy spares the healthy cells and targets only malignant tissues. In most of the cases, IMRT is used in combination with another main treatment. 

Side Effects: 

One of the most common side effects of radiation treatment is its effect on the healthy cells. When powerful and high energy beams are beamed on the malignant cells, the radiation also seep to the surrounding healthy cells, causing related problems. 

Other common symptoms of pancreatic cancer radiation therapy are darkening of skin, loss of appetite and excessive hair loss. The occurrences of these side effects are subjective and may vary from patient to patient. These side effects tend to gradually subside within a period of 4 or 6 weeks after the treatment gets over

However, due to the medical advancement many new methods of radiation therapies are coming up for the rescue of the cancer patients. These latest methods prevent the destruction of the healthy cells to significant extent.