(radiation therapy) is a therapeutic technique consisting in the use of ionizing radiation (subatomic particles
or electromagnetic waves) to kill cancer cells. Unlike chemotherapy, radiotherapy is a local treatment; the
radiation dose is delivered with precision into the volume of the tumor and very small surrounding healthy
diagnosed with cancer, my doctor recommend chemotherapy; will I be
Your chances of recovery depend on several factors such as tumor stage, your health status,
age and lifestyle. However, thanks to advances in medical science, cancers that were formerly incurable are now
well cured by radiotherapy when discovered early. To increase your chances of healing, your doctor may combine
radiation therapy with other treatments: surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, etc.
radiotherapy painful ?
therapy is completely painless
For what type
of cancer radiation therapy is used?
Majority of cancers can be treated by radiation therapy. The therapy can be used as a curative, palliative or
symptomatic treatment. In fact, detected early, certain cancers can be successfully eradicated by radiation
therapy. Some of cancers that tend to respond well to radiation therapy
Is there a
special procedure to follow?
cancer treatment, it is important to eat plenty of fruits, cruciferous vegetables and protein, mostly vegetable
protein: sweet potato, lentils, yams, and others. However, diet recommended by your nutritionist during
radiotherapy depends greatly on the type of cancer you have and the region that is irradiated. For example,
irradiation of the throat or esophagus may require the consumption of foods that slide slowly into your throat
to prevent irritation of the irradiated region. In the case of irradiation of the abdomen, it is necessary to
avoid spicy foods and foods rich in gluten: bread, cakes, flour, etc.
precautions to take?
Yes. Like any
cancer treatment, there are precautions to take during and after radiation therapy. The measures tend to differ
from one patient to and other, and depending on the region irradiated; talk to your doctor for more information.
For general care during radiotherapy, “Radiotherapy Care”
sunbathe while undergoing radiotherapy?
Although there is no reason to stay
indoors all the times, it is safe to avoid sunbathing or prolonged sun exposure during
the treatment; radiation therapy tends increase sensitivity to the sun somewhat.
During radiotherapy and even the following years, it is strongly recommended to not expose the irradiated regions
to the sun. In fact, prolonged sun exposure can lead to serious skin problems, including skin cancer.
effects of radiotherapy temporary or definitive?
common side effects of radiotherapy last a few months, rarely years after treatment. However, radiation to
certain parts of the body can cause permanent side effects. For example, irradiation to the nose, mouth or
throat can lead to dry mouth (xerostomia) for life.
radiotherapy cause hair loss?
No. Unless it is a radiation therapy of the skull
recommended to get vaccinated during radiation therapy?
cancer treatments, radiation therapy tends to weaken the immune system and makes you vulnerable to infection.
Therefore, vaccination and taking immunosuppressant agents are contraindicated during and after radiotherapy.
For more information, you can talk to your doctor.
can I wash the irradiated area?
It is necessary to avoid using irritating cosmetic products in the radiotherapy field. You can
wash the irradiated area with clear water and natural soap without forcedly rubbing the skin. Do not use
perfume, deodorant or / and certain synthetic products in the irradiated region. Wear cotton clothing,
preferably less tight. It is also recommended to wear sunscreen (sunblock or sun cream) on the
skin exposed to sunlight to help protect yourself against sunburn. For information, visit our skin care section.
Can I drive
or work a session of radiotherapy or during the entire therapy?
Provided that your doctor has not recommended you otherwise and you feel ok to do so, you are
free to work or/and drive. In fact, it is important after the treatment that you do not stay inactive thinking
about the disease; this can cause more harm than good. After radiation therapy, resume your normal
Do I have to
stay in hospital for the therapy?
travel to hospital for the treatment; if for any reason you can’t do so, your oncologist will recommend you to
How long does
length of radiotherapy depends on the total dose to be given; the dosage depends on the type of cancer you have
(the lesion to be irradiated) and its severity. In general, radiation therapy lasts several days to 7 weeks. It
is essential that you receive the entire treatment without interruption.
How long does
each session of external radiation therapy last?
Each radiotherapy session
lasts 15 to 30
Usually, radiation therapy is delivered at a rate of one session per day, 5 or 6 days a week. In rare cases, two
sessions can be administered per day.
Should I take
precautions before each therapy session?
therapy requires no special preparation, but it is not recommended to put cream, perfume and other cosmetic
products on the treated area. If you have to take specific precautions, your physician will tell you about them.
Can radiation therapy make you
It depends on the type of radiation therapy you have. External radiation treatment
make you radioactive. Internal
radiation therapy involving sealed implants, however, can travel throughout your body and makes your saliva,
sweat, and urine radioactive. You may need to avoid being around other people for a while. For more information,
talk to your doctor or nurse.