Is It A Problem If I Miss A Treatment
If you miss an appointment during your prescribed treatment, it will extend your treatment course by a day. We strongly recommend that you attempt to make all appointments as prescribed by your radiation oncologist. Keep in mind that the treatments are generally given Monday through Friday. Weekend treatments are given in emergency cases.
How Are Side Effects On The Blood Managed
In some cases, radiation therapy can cause low levels of white blood cells and platelets. These blood cells normally help your body fight infection and prevent bleeding. If large areas of active bone marrow are treated, your red blood cell count may be low as well. If your blood tests show these side effects, your doctor may wait until your blood counts increase to continue treatments. Your doctor may check your blood counts regularly and change your treatment schedule if it is necessary.
What Does Radiation Feel Like
During this therapy, most patients experience little to no discomfort. However, some people may feel nauseous or weak as a result of the anaesthetic. To protect people from radiation exposure, you must take safeguards. These instructions will be provided by your radiation therapy team. They will teach you how to position yourself for treatment so that you do not receive an excessive dose of radiation.
Radiation feels like heat when it enters your body. It can also cause pain and irritation where it contacts skin. There are different types of radiation used in cancer treatment, such as x-rays, ultraviolet light, and radioactive substances. Each type has different effects on living tissue. X-rays are commonly used to produce images of bones for diagnosis or treatment. During radiotherapy, only parts of the body covered by film are photographed. The remaining body parts are treated with radiation. Radioactive substances are used to kill cancer cells during ablative radiation therapy. Ablative means “outward” from the body. This type of treatment destroys healthy tissue in addition to the cancerous tissue. It is used when you need to remove all or part of a tumor. Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays from sources outside the body to damage DNA of cancer cells. This prevents their reproduction and kills them.
You should avoid touching your face while wearing gloves because the glove material will stick to your skin.
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Why Is Radiation Therapy Given
Radiation therapy may aim to:
- cure – some cancers can be cured by radiation therapy alone or combined with other treatments.
- control – radiation therapy can control some cancers by making them smaller or stopping them from spreading.
- help other treatments – radiation therapy can be used before or after other treatments to make them more effective.
- relieve symptoms – if cure is not possible, radiation therapy may be used to reduce cancer symptoms and prolong a good quality of life.
How Soon Might I Have Side Effects From Radiation Therapy
There are two kinds of radiation side effects: early and late. Early side effects, such as nausea and fatigue, usually donât last long. They may start during or right after treatment and last for several weeks after it ends, but then they get better. Late side effects, such as lung or heart problems, may take years to show up and are often permanent when they do.
The most common early side effects are fatigue and skin problems. You might get others, such as hair loss and nausea, depending on where you get radiation.
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What Are The Types Of External
The most common type of radiation therapy is external-beam radiation therapy. It delivers radiation from a machine outside the body. It can be used to treat large areas of the body, if needed.
A machine called a linear accelerator, or linac, creates the radiation beam for x-ray or photon radiation therapy. Special computer software adjusts the beam’s size and shape. This helps target the tumor while avoiding healthy tissue nearby.
Most radiation therapy treatments are given every weekday for several weeks. Form-fitting supports or a plastic mesh mask are used for radiation therapy to the head, neck, or brain to help people stay still and make sure the beam reaches the same area each session.
The different types of external-beam radiation therapy are:
How Will I Feel After My First Radiation Treatment For Breast Cancer
Breast cancer can be treated in a variety of ways, including with radiation therapy. Depending on your cancer type and stage, radiation can be used alone as a treatment for breast
Breast cancer can be treated in a variety of ways, including with radiation therapy.
Depending on your cancer type and stage, radiation can be used alone as a treatment for breast cancer, or with other therapies.
There are different types and schedules of radiation therapy for breast cancer, and knowing more about it and what to expect can help you prepare for this treatment.
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Coping With Feeling Sick
Always tell your team if you have nausea or vomiting during or after your treatment. They can give you anti-sickness drugs or change the drugs you are taking. They will explain when and how to take the drugs. These drugs often work better when you take them regularly, or before you start to feel sick. Tell your team if the sickness does not improve.
Dealing With Feelings Of Sadness
If you have continued feelings of sadness, have trouble getting up in the morning or have lost motivation to do things that previously gave you pleasure, you may be experiencing depression. This is quite common among people who have had cancer.
Talk to your GP, as counselling or medication even for a short time may help. Some people can get a Medicare rebate for sessions with a psychologist. Ask your doctor if you are eligible. Cancer Council may also run a counselling program in your area.
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Problems Eating And Drinking
- reduced sense of taste
Tell your care team if you have any of these problems. They may recommend painkillers or a special mouthwash that can help. Avoiding spicy, salty or sharp foods can also help.
Mucositis usually gets better a few weeks after treatment finishes, although sometimes a dry mouth can be a long-term problem.
How Can Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Speed Up Radiation Recovery
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy makes it possible to minimize and even reverse your radiation symptoms. It uses powerful 100% oxygen at pressures above regular atmospheric pressure to stream oxygen through your bloodstream.
The pressure of HBOT drives oxygen not just into the bloodstream, but also into lymph tissue, bone tissue, red blood cells, and other critical locations. Since oxygen is critical for all healing functions, HBOT can reduce cell death, relieve pain, stimulate new growth of blood vessels, and boost circulation.
As a result, tissues damaged by radiation or suffering from nutrient deficiencies can quickly become revitalized and enhanced. The oxygenation that occurs during HBOT promotes cellular growth that combats the harmful effects of radiation therapy and helps you recover more efficiently.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
Coping with a diagnosis of cancer and researching the various treatment options can be a stressful experience. To assist you in this process, below is a list of questions you may want to ask your radiation oncologist if you are considering radiation therapy.
Questions to ask before treatment
- What type and stage of cancer do I have?
- What is the purpose of radiation treatment for my type of cancer?
- How will the radiation therapy be given? Will it be external beam or brachytherapy? What do the treatments feel like?
- For how many weeks will I receive radiation? How many treatments will I receive per week?
- What are the chances that radiation therapy will work?
- Can I participate in a clinical trial? If so, what is the trial testing? What are my benefits and risks?
- What is the chance that the cancer will spread or come back if I do not have radiation therapy?
- Will I need chemotherapy, surgery or other treatments? If so, in what order will I receive these treatments? How soon after radiation therapy can I start them?
- How should I prepare for this financially?
- What are some of the support groups I can turn to during treatment?
- If I have questions after I leave here, who can I call?
- Will radiation therapy affect my ability to have children?
- Do you take my insurance?
Questions to ask during Treatment
Questions to ask After Treatment Ends
What Happens During Internal Radiation Therapy
Internal radiation therapy is also called brachytherapy. This includes both temporary and permanent placement of radioactive sources at the site of the tumor.
Typically with this treatment approach, you will have repeated treatments across a number of days and weeks. These treatments may require a brief hospital stay. You may need anesthesia to block the awareness of pain while the radioactive sources are placed in the body. Most people feel little to no discomfort during this treatment. But some may experience weakness or nausea from the anesthesia.
You will need to take precautions to protect others from radiation exposure. Your radiation therapy team will provide these instructions. The need for such precautions ends when:
The permanent implant loses its radioactivity
The temporary implant is removed.
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What Else Do I Need To Know About Radiation Therapy Treatment Appointments
During your treatment period, your radiation oncologist will check how well radiation therapy is working. Typically, this will happen at least once a week. If needed, they may adjust your treatment plan.
While being treated, many people experience fatigue and sensitive skin at the site of radiation therapy. You may also experience emotional distress during radiation therapy. It is important to rest and take care of yourself during radiation therapy. Consider these ways to take care of yourself:
Why You’re So Tired After Radiation Therapy
Brandi Jones MSN-Ed, RN-BC is a board-certified registered nurse who owns Brandi Jones LLC, where she writes health and wellness blogs, articles, and education. She lives with her husband and springer spaniel and enjoys camping and tapping into her creativity in her downtime.
When you undergo radiation therapy to treat cancer, your healthcare provider may provide you with a list of possible side effects of treatment. Things like nausea, diarrhea, and hair loss usually catch a person’s attention first because they seem to be the worst.
However, fatigue is one of the most common side effects. A lack of energy and excessive tiredness is common for cancer patients no matter their therapy, but those undergoing radiation therapy experience fatigue more frequently. It also worsens as treatment continues.
This article reviews symptoms of fatigue, why radiation causes it, tips to manage and cope with fatigue, and when to call your healthcare provider
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What Can I Expect At My First Radiation Treatment Appointment
What to expect during radiation treatment for cancer depends on whether you are having external beam radiation therapy or internal radiation therapy, also called high-dose-rate brachytherapy.
Your first radiation therapy appointment wont include any actual radiation therapy. Instead, youll come in for a CT scan, which is used to help plan your radiation therapy. You will be positioned as you would during treatment usually lying flat on your back and scans will be taken of the area of the body that will be treated. You also will have tiny permanent marks that will guide the targeting of the radiation therapy during treatment. This appointment takes about 30 minutes.
How To Cope With The Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy
contributed by Annette Schork, RN, BSN, OCN, CBCN, Cancer AnswerLine
Radiation therapy treats cancer by using high energy to kill tumor cells. Many people who get radiation therapy have skin changes and some fatigue. Side effects vary from person to person depend on the radiation dose, and the part of the body being treated. Some patients have no side effects at all, while others have quite a few. There is no way to predict who will have side effects.
Skin changes may include dryness, itching, peeling, or blistering. These changes occur because radiation therapy damages healthy skin cells in the treatment area.
Fatigue is often described as feeling worn out or exhausted.
If you have bad side effects, the doctor may stop your treatments for a while, change the schedule, or change the type of treatment you are getting.
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Radiation Therapy Timing And Breast Reconstruction
The timing of radiation treatment in your overall breast cancer treatment plan depends on your individual situation and the characteristics of the breast cancer.
In many cases, radiation therapy is given after surgery. If chemotherapy is planned after surgery, radiation usually follows chemotherapy.
If youre having mastectomy and have decided to have breast reconstruction, its important to know that radiation can cause a reconstructed breast to lose volume and change color, texture, and appearance.
In particular, radiation therapy is known to cause complications with implant reconstruction. Research also suggests that a reconstructed breast may interfere with radiation therapy reaching the area affected by cancer, though this can vary on a case-by-case basis.
For these reasons, some surgeons advise waiting until after radiation and other treatments, such as chemotherapy, are completed before breast reconstruction surgery is done.
Other surgeons may recommend a more staged approach, which places a tissue expander after mastectomy to preserve the shape of the breast during radiation treatments. Once radiation is completed and the tissues have recovered, the expander that was used to maintain the shape of the breast is removed and replaced with tissue from another part of the body or a breast implant.
Where Will Treatment Take Place
Radiation therapy is usually given in private clinics or large hospitals. Treatment is given by trained staff called nuclear medicine specialists or radiation therapists. The treatment will be supervised by radiation oncologists who are the main treating medical specialists for people getting radiation therapy.
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What Are Possible Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy
There are usually no immediate side effects from each radiation treatment given to the breast. Patients do not develop nausea or hair loss on the head from radiation therapy to the breast.
Most patients develop mild fatigue that builds up gradually over the course of therapy. This slowly goes away one to two months following the radiation therapy. Most patients develop dull aches or sharp shooting pains in the breast that may last for a few seconds or minutes. It is rare for patients to need any medication for this. The most common side effect needing attention is skin reaction. Most patients develop reddening, dryness anditching of the skin after a few weeks. Some patients develop substantial irritation.
Skin care recommendations include:
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What Happens During External
What happens during your radiation therapy treatment depends on the kind of radiation therapy you receive. External-beam radiation therapy delivers radiation from a machine outside the body. It is the most common radiation therapy treatment for cancer.
Each session is generally quick, lasting about 15 minutes. Radiation does not hurt, sting, or burn when it enters the body. You will hear clicking or buzzing throughout the treatment and there may be a smell from the machine.
Typically, people have treatment sessions 5 times per week, Monday through Friday. This schedule usually continues for 3 to 9 weeks, depending on your personal treatment plan.
This type of radiation therapy only targets the tumor. But it will affect some healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. While most people feel no pain when each treatment is being delivered, effects of treatment slowly build up over time and may include discomfort, skin changes, or other side effects, depending on where in the body treatment is being delivered. The 2-day break in treatment each week allows your body some time to repair this damage. Some of the effects may not go away until after the treatment period is complete. Let your health care team know if you are experiencing any side effects so they can help relieve them. Read more about the side effects of radiation therapy.
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What Are The Types Of Radiation Therapy
- External radiation therapy
- External radiation therapy is given from a special machine . The patient never becomes radioactive.
- Internal radiation therapy
- Internal radiation therapy is when the source of radiation is placed inside the body near the cancer cells. The length of time the implant is in place depends upon the type of implant received.
Will Radiation Therapy Cause My Hair To Fall Out
Only people who get radiation to the scalp or the brain may have hair loss. Others won’t. If it does happen, itâs usually sudden and comes out in clumps. In most cases, your hair will grow back after therapy stops, but it may be thinner or have a different texture.
Some people choose to cut their hair short before treatment begins to make less weight on the hair shaft. If you lose hair on top of your head, be sure to wear a hat or a scarf to protect your scalp from the sun when you go outside. If you decide to buy a wig, ask the doctor to write a prescription for one and check to see if it’s covered by your insurance or is a tax-deductible expense.
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