Sunday, March 3, 2024

Does Radiation Therapy Shrink Tumors

What Happens During Radiation Therapy

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

Internal radiation therapy usually happens in a special outpatient treatment room or in a hospital. Your radiation oncologist may insert the radiation implant using a small flexible tube called a catheter. For this treatment, youll receive anesthesia so you dont feel pain or discomfort during the procedure. With the systemic form of internal radiation therapy, youll receive radioactive fluid through an IV.

With EBRT, you lie on a table, positioned as during simulation. The radiation machine moves around you but never touches you. A healthcare provider called a radiation therapist operates the machine from a separate room. You can speak to each other at any time using an intercom. The machine directs precise doses of radiation toward the tumor as it shifts positions. You wont feel anything during treatment.

How Long Does Sbrt Take To Work

The LINAC machine moves and rotates around the target during treatment to deliver radiation beams from different angles. The treatment takes less than 30 minutes to an hour. Having SBRT is kind of like having an X-ray.

How long does fatigue last after SBRT?

You may develop fatigue 4 to 6 weeks after you finish treatment. The fatigue can range from mild to severe. It may last for several months after your treatment ends.

Radiation Therapy For Lung Cancer

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  • Lung cancer radiation therapy uses powerful, high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. Radiation may come from outside the body or from radioactive materials placed directly inside the lung cancer tumor . External radiation is used most often. The radiation is aimed at the lung cancer tumor and kills the cancer cells only in that area of the lungs.

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    Internal Radiation Therapy For Breast Cancer Treatment

    The most common type of internal radiation therapy used to treat breast cancer is high-dose-rate brachytherapy. Its used to treat early-stage breast cancer after breast cancer surgery. HDR brachytherapy is a much shorter process compared to external radiation therapy but currently has limited use in those who had small tumors found early.

    An applicator with tiny tubes is placed into the breast. During each treatment session, seeds are placed in the tubes for several minutes to deliver radiation treatment and destroy any remaining cancer cells not removed during surgery. The seeds may also target nearby lymph nodes a common area where cancer spreads. The seeds are removed but reinserted at each session. After about a week, when you complete your treatment, the applicator is removed.

    Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy

    How Does Radiation Therapy Work For Breast Cancer

    Radiation doesn’t only work during individual treatment sessions. Cells that are impacted by radiation at the time of treatment can take daysâor even monthsâto die off completely. In most cases, this cell death, as well as damage to surrounding tissues, is what causes the side effects from radiation therapy.

    Fatigue, hair loss, and skin changes are common side effects of radiation therapy, but you can also have other side effects depending on the part of your body where treatment is targeted.

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    How Much Radiation Therapy Costs

    Radiation therapy can be expensive. It uses complex machines and involves the services of many health care providers. The exact cost of your radiation therapy depends on the cost of health care where you live, what type of radiation therapy you get, and how many treatments you need.

    Talk with your health insurance company about what services it will pay for. Most insurance plans pay for radiation therapy. To learn more, talk with the business office at the clinic or hospital where you go for treatment. If you need financial assistance, there are organizations that may be able to help. To find such organizations, go to the National Cancer Institute database, Organizations that Offer Support Services and search for “financial assistance.” Or call toll-free 1-800-4-CANCER to ask for information on organizations that may help.

    Types And Characteristics Of Cell Death

    Radiation therapy, like most anticancer treatments, achieves its therapeutic effect by inducing different types of cell death 37 .3). Radiation therapy does not kill cancer cells right away. It takes hours, days or weeks of treatment before cancer cells start to die after which cancer cells continue dying for weeks to months after radiation therapy ends.

    Types of cell death induced by radiation. Radiation mainly kills the cells either by apoptosis or mitotic catastrophe.

    Apoptosis: Programmed cell death or apoptosis is a major cell death mechanisms involved in cancer therapy and in radiation therapy in particular 38, 39, 40. Apoptosis is characterized by cell shrinkage and formation of apoptotic bodies. Mitochondria play a major role for the apoptotic cell death 41. Blebbing of cell membrane is often seen with condensed chromatin with nuclear margination and with DNA fragmentation. In general, the cellular membrane of apoptotic cells remains intact. Induction of apoptosis in cancer cells plays an important role in the efficacy of radiation therapy 37, 42.

    The above two types of cell death account for the majority of ionizing radiation induced cell death.

    Necrosis: Cells visibly swell with breakdown of cell membrane. Cells have an atypical nuclear shape with vacuolization, non-condensed chromatin and disintegrated cellular organelles along with mitochondrial swelling and plasma membrane rupture followed by subsequent loss of intracellular contents 46.

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    What Is The Difference Between Chemotherapy And Radiation Therapy

    Radiation therapy uses high-energy particles or high-energy waves to kill cancer cells. Cells grow and reproduce in order to create new cells and replace cells lost to damage and aging. Cancer cells reproduce faster than normal cells and lack the controls found in normal cells. The high energy particles kill cancer cells by causing damage to their genetic information . DNA contains the information used to control cell growth and division.1

    Radiation is a localized therapy, the high energy beams are targeted directly at the cancer. Efforts are made to avoid as many healthy cells as possible. Because this therapy is focused on a specific area of the body, it is not useful in treating cancers that may have spread to other places. Radiation therapy is used to- cure or reduce early-stage cancer, prevent cancer from returning , treat symptoms due to advanced cancer and treat cancer that has come back.1

    Chemotherapy involves using drugs to treat cancer. Unlike radiation, which is used to treat cancer in a specific region of the body, chemotherapy drugs spread throughout the body. It is used to treat tumors that cant be removed by surgery, cancers that have spread from the original tumor to other parts of the body, and when doctors dont know if a cancer has spread or not. Like radiation therapy, chemotherapy drugs target the division and activity of cancer cells to kill them.2

    Why Cancer Might Come Back

    Radiation Therapy for Brain Tumors

    Cancer might come back some time after the first treatment. This idea can be frightening. There are different reasons for why cancer might come back. These reasons are:

    • the original treatment didn’t get rid of all the cancer cells and those left behind grew into a new tumour
    • some cancer cells have spread elsewhere in the body and started growing there to form a tumour

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    Radiation Therapy And Cell Death

    Radiation therapy can kill cancer cells by a variety of mechanisms. The main goal of radiation therapy is to deprive cancer cells of their multiplication potential and eventually kill the cancer cells. Cancer cells whose DNA is damaged beyond repair stop dividing and die.

    However, the mechanism of cell death response to irradiation is complex. Thus, identifying the importance of radiation induced cell death and further mechanisms involved has potential clinical implications for improving outcomes with radiation therapy.

    What Should Patients Know About Msks Approach To Treating Prostate Cancer

    At MSK, we manage prostate cancer in a very comprehensive way, tailored to each patients disease. There is no one specific therapy that is best for everyone.

    Our initial assessment includes a carefully evaluated biopsy and a very detailed MRI to show the location of the disease, the integrity or soundness of the capsule surrounding the prostate, and the amount of disease. We will often obtain next-generation imaging and do genomic testing. Then, based on that information and with input from the urologist, the radiation oncologist, and the medical oncologist we can provide a comprehensive recommendation.

    The radiotherapy we do here at MSK is state-of-the-art and unparalleled. We are one of the few centers in the world to do MRI-based treatment planning and one of the few centers in the US to offer MRI-guided treatment. When we give brachytherapy, we use computer software that provides us with real-time information about the quality and accuracy of the seed implant during the procedure. It requires a great deal of collaboration with our medical physics team to try to get the most accurate positioning of the prostate during the actual three or four minutes of the treatment.

    We make adjustments while the patient is still under anesthesia, so that when the procedure is completed, we have been able to achieve ideal placement of the radiation seeds. This translates into improved outcomes.

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    Does Radiation Therapy Cause Cancer

    It has long been known that radiation therapy can slightly raise the risk of getting another cancer. Its one of the possible side effects of treatment that doctors have to think about when they weigh the benefits and risks of each treatment. For the most part, the risk of a second cancer from these treatments is small and is outweighed by the benefit of treating the cancer, but the risk is not zero. This is one of the many reasons each case is different and each person must be part of deciding which kind of treatment is right for them. The risk is different depending on where the radiation treatment will be in the body.

    If your cancer care team recommends radiation treatment, its because they believe that the benefits youll get from it will outweigh the possible side effects. Still, this is your decision to make. Knowing as much as you can about the possible benefits and risks can help you be sure that radiation therapy is best for you.

    Managing The Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy For Cancer Treatment

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    Side effects of radiation therapy depend on the type of radiation treatment you receive. Radiation treatments rarely cause pain, but some patients experience both short- and long-term problems. Always let your oncologist know if you have any of these side effects because there are treatment options.

    Short-term side effects may include:

    • Discomfort or swelling in the target area
    • Changes in skin sensitivity
    • Fluid collecting in your breast

    Long-term effects are less common but can include heart or lung problems, damage to the breasts fatty tissues, or multiple spider veins .

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    Brain Radiation Side Effects

    Generally, side effects from radiation treatment are grouped into two categories:

    • Short-term side effects, which occur within six weeks of treatment
    • Delayed side effects, which are rarer than short-term effects and can start months or even years later

    Short-term side effects of brain tumor radiation include:

  • Loss of function specific to area treated: vision, language, motor or sensory
  • New tumors in scalp, skull or brain
  • Vascular issues, including stroke
  • The risk for these side effects depends on your age, the radiation dose used and the size of the area treated, and the location. Some tumors can be treated with focal radiation, which targets a smaller area than whole brain radiation. Larger treatment areas are generally associated with greater risk of long-term effects.

    Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy

    Intensity-modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT, delivers high doses of radiation while reducing exposure to your nearby organs. This procedure uses advanced software and 3D CT scans to mold radiation to the shape of a spine tumor. IMRT focuses high doses of radiation into the tumor, even when its near important organs. This may a good treatment option for you if you have tumors that need a higher dose of radiation than what conventional external-beam radiation therapy gives.

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    Conventional External Beam Radiotherapy

    Most people receiving radiotherapy have external radiotherapy delivered by a source of radiation outside the body.

    External radiotherapy is usually carried out as an outpatient procedure, so you won’t have to stay in hospital overnight. However, you may need to stay in hospital if you’re having chemotherapy in combination with radiotherapy , or if you’re unwell.

    During the procedure, you’ll be positioned on a treatment table and a radiotherapy machine directs high-energy radiation at the area being treated.

    You’ll need to keep as still as possible throughout the treatment, although you can breathe normally. The procedure only takes a few minutes each day and is completely painless.

    While you’re having treatment, you’ll be left alone in the treatment room. A radiographer operates the machine from outside the room and watches you through a window or on closed circuit television. If necessary, you’ll be able to talk to the radiographer during the procedure using an intercom.

    What Happens Before Radiation Therapy

    Radiation Therapy for Brain Tumors Video

    For internal radiation therapy, you may need a physical exam and imaging. Your radiation oncologist will explain how you can prepare for the day of the procedure based on how youll receive the radiation.

    External beam radiation therapy involves a planning appointment called a simulation. Simulation is the treatment planning step that customizes your treatment.

    Simulation involves:

    • Getting in position. Youre positioned on a table exactly as you will be during treatment sessions. Your radiation therapy team may use a mold or mask to hold your body in place. Theyll ensure your alignment is correct. You may get temporary or permanent markings that show which body parts should receive the radiation.
    • Getting scans. Youll receive a CT scan or an MRI that shows the tumors location. This information will help your care team customize X-rays that target a tumor while sparing healthy tissue.

    Simulation allows your radiation oncologist to determine your radiation dosage and how youll receive it.

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    Advantages And Disadvantages Of Radiation Therapy

    The advantages of radiation therapy include:

    • death of a large proportion of cancer cells within the entire tumor
    • death of microscopic disease at the periphery of the tumor that would not be visible to the naked eye
    • ability to shrink tumors
    • relative safety for the patient
    • synergy with systemic therapy
    • organ preservation (e.g. not removing a breast, larynx, or part of the gastrointestinal tract, which would have significant negative impact on a patients quality of life
    • possible stimulation of an immune response against the tumor

    The disadvantages of radiation therapy include:

    • damage to surrounding tissues , depending on how close the area of interest is located to the tumor
    • inability to kill tumor cells that cannot be seen on imaging scans and are therefore not always included on the 3D models of radiation planning
    • inability to kill the all cancer cells in tumors
    • inability to relieve mass effect in certain parts of the body , thereby requiring surgery
    • poor killing of cancer cells in areas that do not have a good supply of oxygen
    • increased incidence in wound complication and poor healing
    • inconvenience of radiation therapy
    • contraindications to radiation therapy

    How Long Does It Take For Palliative Radiation To Work

    Palliative radiation is a simple and effective treatment for cancer related bone pain. Often a single treatment can be used. Two thirds of patients will have moderate to complete pain relief. A decrease in pain can occur as quickly as a few days after the treatment, or relief may take a few weeks to be achieved.

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    To Stop Cancer From Coming Back Somewhere Else

    Cancer can spread from where it started to other body parts. Doctors often assume that a few cancer cells might already have spread even when they cant be seen on imaging scans like CT scans or MRIs. In some cases, the area where the cancer most often spreads to may be treated with radiation to kill any cancer cells before they grow into tumors. For instance, people with certain kinds of lung cancer may get radiation to the head, even when there is no cancer known to be there, because their type of lung cancer often spreads to the brain. This is done to help prevent cancer from spreading to the head even before it can. Sometimes, radiation to prevent future cancer can be given at the same time that radiation is given to treat existing cancer, especially if the area the cancer might spread to is close to the tumor itself.

    How Does Radiation Therapy Work In Treating Brain Cancer

    Radiation Oncology

    Radiation therapy is used to shrink tumors and slow the growth of brain cancer. Its often used together with chemotherapy or surgery to give doctors the best chance of completely removing the tumor. Its also used for people who arent able to undergo surgery.

    Radiation therapy uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells by damaging their DNA. Radiation is concentrated beams of energy. Its also used in X-rays in lower doses to produce an image of the inside of your body. When the DNA of cancer cells is damaged, the cells are unable to divide or grow and eventually die.

    However, radiation therapy also damages the DNA of healthy cells around the part of your body where radiation is delivered. Its especially prone to damaging rapidly growing cells such as stem cells.

    Stem cells have the potential to become any other type of cell. When these are damaged, your body is unable to create new cells to replace the cells in your body when they die at least temporarily. Not replacing these cells may cause you to develop side effects that usually pass after 2 to 3 weeks.

    Radiation therapy can cause side effects due to damage to healthy brain tissue and cells around your head and neck. The goal is to deliver the lowest possible effective dose of radiation to minimize damage to healthy brain tissue.

    Some side effects appear shortly after treatment while others may not occur for months or years.

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