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How Long Does Radiation Treatment Take

How Does Your Doctor Plan Your Radiation Treatment

How Long Does Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer Take?

Radiation is planned and given by a team of trained health care providers. The radiation oncologist is a doctor who treats cancer with radiation and oversees the care of each patient getting radiation. Working closely with the radiation oncologist, the radiation therapist gives the daily radiation treatment and positions patients for each treatment. Other professionals include the medical physicist and dosimetrist who plan and calculate the doses of radiation.

Before starting radiation therapy, your radiation oncologist will examine you, review your medical history and test results, and pinpoint the exact area to be treated. This planning session is called simulation. You might hear this referred to as the sim. Youll be asked to lie still on a table while the radiation therapist uses imaging scans to define your treatment field . These are the exact places on your body where the radiation beams will be aimed.

The simulation is very important and may take some time. It’s used to plan exactly where the treatment will be on or in your body. The radiation can then be delivered as directly as possible to the tumor while affecting normal, healthy tissues as little as possible.

What Should You Put On Your Skin After Radiation

Bathe or shower daily using warm water and a mild unscented soap, such as Neutrogena®, Dove®, baby soap, Basis®, or Cetaphil®. Rinse your skin well and pat it dry with a soft towel. When washing, be gentle with your skin in the area being treated. Don’t use a washcloth, scrubbing cloth, loofah or brush.

Time To Treatment With Metastatic Breast Cancer

There is little research looking at the optimal time until treatment for metastatic breast cancer, though it appears that waiting more than 12 weeks has been linked with lower survival. In general, however, the goal of treatment with MBC is different than early stage disease. For most people, treatment for early-stage disease is aggressive, with the goal to reduce the risk of recurrence. With MBC, the goal is often to use the least amount of treatment necessary to control the disease.

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Will Eating Be A Problem

Sometimes radiation treatment causes a loss of appetite and interferes with eating, digesting, and absorbing food. Try to eat enough to help damaged tissues rebuild themselves. It is not unusual to lose one or two pounds a week during radiation therapy, though we will try hard to help you maintain your weight. You will be weighed weekly to monitor your progress.

It is important to eat a reasonable diet. You may find it helpful to eat small meals often and to try to eat a variety of different foods. Your doctor or nurse can tell you whether you should eat a special diet, and a dietitian will have some ideas that will help you maintain your weight.

The list below suggest ways to perk up your appetite when its poor and to make the most of it when you do feel like eating.

How Is Radiation Therapy Given

Long Term Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy For Breast Cancer

Radiation therapy can be given externally or internally . During external radiation, the most common type of radiation therapy, a machine directs high-energy rays at the cancer and some normal surrounding tissue. In brachytherapy, a radioactive source is implanted directly into the cancerous area. The implants can be permanent or temporary.

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What Happens After Radiotherapy

After you finish your radiotherapy, you will have regular appointments to check how well your treatment is working and monitor any side effects. Your doctor or nurse will let you know how often youll have appointments.

You will have regular blood tests to measure your level of PSA . Your doctor will also ask you about any side effects from your treatment and any symptoms you might have.

If youve had external beam radiotherapy to treat bone pain, you may find the pain gets worse during treatment and for a few days afterwards this is called a pain flare. Your doctor might prescribe some pain-relieving drugs to help with the pain, or increase the dose that you already take.

You should notice that the pain gradually improves, though it might take a few weeks for the treatment to be most effective. The pain relief usually lasts for several months and you may be able to reduce the dose of any pain-relieving drugs you are taking. But speak to your hospital team or GP first you shouldnt reduce the dose suddenly. If your pain or other symptoms dont improve, talk to your doctor, radiographer or nurse.

If your pain comes back, they might suggest another course of radiotherapy. If youve already had external beam radiotherapy to one area, you may be able to have it again to the same area. This will depend on the dose youve already had. If you have bone pain in more than one new area, you might be able to have more external beam radiotherapy or a course of radium-223.

How Long Does It Take For Radiation Side Effects To Go Away

The general effects of radiation therapy like fatigue, nausea, and headaches resolve fairly quickly after treatment. Your body just needs time to process the radiation but can recover within a few weeks.

Delayed side effects of radiation therapy, on the other hand, may require further treatment to alleviate. Its important to use an ongoing therapy like hyperbaric oxygen therapy to enhance the bodys healing response and optimize the bodys response to radiation damage. Without additional care, some radiation side effects like burns and inflammation can morph into chronic, non-healing wounds that trigger additional health complications.

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Icle Beam Radiation Therapy

Proton beam radiation therapy focuses beams of protons instead of photons on the cancer. Unlike photons, which go through the body and expose tissues to radiation both before and after they hit the tumor, protons only travel a certain distance, so the tissues behind the tumor are exposed to very little radiation. Even the tissues in front of the tumor see less radiation than the tumor itself. This means that proton beam radiation can deliver radiation to the cancer while doing less damage to nearby normal tissues.

Proton beam radiation might be used to treat tumors that are close to critical structures such as in the following cancers:

Although proton therapy might be a safe option in certain cases when using x-rays is not, it has not been shown to be clearly better than traditional photon therapy in any adult solid cancer. Given this, more research is needed to find out exactly where proton beam therapy fits in cancer treatment.

Proton therapy is not widely available in the United States. It might also not be covered by all insurance companies at this time.

Your Role On Your Radiation Therapy Team

What to Expect When Receiving Radiation Therapy Treatment

Your radiation therapy care team will work together to care for you. Youre a part of that team, and your role includes:

  • Getting to your appointments on time.
  • Asking questions and talking about your concerns.
  • Telling someone on your care team when you have symptoms related to your treatment.
  • Telling someone on your care team if youre in pain.
  • Caring for yourself at home by:
  • Quitting smoking if you smoke. MSK has specialists who can help you quit smoking. For more information about our Tobacco Treatment Program, call .
  • Caring for your skin based on your care teams instructions
  • Drinking liquids based on your care teams instructions.
  • Eating the foods your care team suggests.
  • Staying around the same weight.

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Proton Beam Radiation Therapy

Proton beam therapy focuses beams of protons instead of x-rays on the cancer. Unlike x-rays, which release energy both before and after they hit their target, protons cause little damage to tissues they pass through and release their energy only after traveling a certain distance. This means that proton beam radiation can, in theory, deliver more radiation to the prostate while doing less damage to nearby normal tissues. Proton beam radiation can be aimed with techniques similar to 3D-CRT and IMRT.

Although in theory proton beam therapy might be more effective than using x-rays, so far studies have not shown if this is true. Right now, proton beam therapy is not widely available. The machines needed to make protons are very expensive, and they arent available in many centers in the United States. Proton beam radiation might not be covered by all insurance companies at this time.

So How Long Does The Radiation Therapy Take

The exact duration of the treatment depends on the type, characteristics, and location of the tumor. The length of treatment also depends on the dosage to be delivered, the number of fractions to be given, the treatment plan created by the radiation oncologist, and whether it is external or internal radiotherapy.

For example, if you have a deeper tumor, then you may require a more-focused beam delivered for a shorter period of time. But if you have a larger, shallow tumor, then you may need treatment for a longer period.

Equally, since the radiation must be given in a way that has minimal adverse effects on healthy cells, a shorter length of exposure is necessary if the tumor is located in more delicate organ or is in close proximity to very sensitive body tissues.

Your radiation oncologist will assess your tumor and make the necessary prescription. Then, by working with your radiation oncology team, the oncologist will determine how best to deliver the prescribed dosage, how many treatments are necessary, and how long it should take.

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Will I Be Radioactive

Even though the effects of radiation are powerful, you will not become permanently radioactive. External radiation therapy only affects targeted cells for a moment. With brachytherapy, your body may emit a small amount of radiation for a short time. If the radiation is contained in a closed implant, the radioactive material cannot escape, but precautions, such as limitation of visitors, are taken anyway. If you receive therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals youll have a higher level of radiation in your body and will have to take more precautions.

What Are Radiation Therapy Side Effects

How Long Does Radiation From Ct Scan Last

Most people receive radiation therapy spread out over multiple treatment sessions so they dont receive the full dose all at once. The treatment schedule gives your healthy tissue time to recover between sessions. The healing time reduces side effects.

Still, you may experience unpleasant side effects that your radiation oncologist will help manage. Usually, these side effects only affect the part of your body receiving radiation directly.

Side effects may include:

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How Does Radiation Therapy Work On The Body

Internal radiation therapy can cause the body to give off small amounts of radiation for a short period of time. Patients who receive temporary implants often stay in the hospital while the implant is in place and may have limitations on visitors. Their bodily fluids are not radioactive. Once the implant is removed, their body is radiation-free.

How Is The Treatment Planned

Every course of radiation therapy is designed to suit the particular needs of the person receiving it, so you will usually be asked to make a preliminary visit to the treatment center to have your course of treatment planned. The radiation oncologist and radiation therapists will do this . Your skin will be marked with coloured pens to define where you will have your treatment. In addition, some minute permanent marks will be made using a special dye and a tiny pin prick.

These marks will enable the radiation therapists to identify exactly the right area at every treatment session. If a head shell has been made for you the guidance marks will be put on the shell rather than on your skin.

If you are having radiation therapy to your mouth and/or throat you will need a dental assessment at this stage as you may require some dental treatment before you start your radiation therapy.

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What Are Additional Treatment Options

Systemic Radiation Therapy

Certain cancers may be treated by swallowing radioactive pills or receiving radioactive fluids in the vein . This type of treatment is called systemic radiation therapy because the medicine goes to the entire body. For example, radioactive iodine capsules are given to treat some types of thyroid cancer. Another example is the use of intravenous radioactive material to treat pain due to cancer that has spread to the bone. Radiolabeled antibodies are monoclonal antibodies with radioactive particles attached. These antibodies are designed to attach themselves directly to the cancer cell and damage it with small amounts of radiation.

Cancer doctors now know much more about how cancer cells function. New cancer therapies use this information to target cancer cell functions and stop them. Called targeted therapies, they can be more specific in stopping cancer cells from growing and may make other treatments work better. For example, some medicines work to prevent cancers from growing by preventing the growth of new blood vessels that would nourish the cancer. Other targeted therapies work more directly on cancer cells by blocking the action of molecules on the surface of cancer cells called growth factors.



Some medicines called radioprotectors can help protect healthy tissue from the effects of radiation.

Intraoperative Radiation Therapy



How Long Will The Consultation Take

How long does radiation therapy treatment last? (Adam Currey, MD)

Your initial visit with the radiation oncologist will take 1 to 1-1/2 hours. At this time, he or she will review your records and discuss treatment options. The risks, benefits, and alternatives to radiotherapy will also be discussed at this time. If desired, your spouse and/or family member may be present during your visit and may ask questions or take notes.

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Radiation Therapy For Breast Cancer

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to destroy cancer cells. It is often used to treat breast cancer. Your healthcare team will consider your personal needs to plan the type and amount of radiation, and when and how it is given. You may also receive other treatments.

Radiation therapy is given for different reasons. You may have radiation therapy to:

  • lower the risk of the cancer coming back, or recurring, after surgery
  • shrink a tumour before surgery
  • treat breast cancer that comes back, or recurs, in the area of a mastectomy
  • relieve pain or control the symptoms of advanced breast cancer

Doctors use external beam radiation therapy to treat breast cancer. During external beam radiation therapy, a machine directs radiation through the skin to the tumour and some of the tissue around it.

Some women may not be able to have radiation therapy because they already had radiation therapy to the chest or breast. Doctors may not offer radiation therapy to women with lung problems, damaged heart muscles and certain connective tissue diseases.

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How Much Radiation Is Given

Based on the simulation, other tests, and your cancer type, the radiation oncologist will work with the other members of his team to decide how much radiation is needed, how it will be given, and how many treatments you should have. They figure this out based on research that has shown what the minimum and maximum dose of radiation should be for the type of cancer and area of the body being treated.

If the cancer has not completely gone away or if it comes back, more treatment might be needed. In these cases, the radiation team will help decide whether or not radiation therapy is the best option. This decision depends on the type of cancer, where the tumor is, and how much radiation was given to the area before. If the maximum dose has already been reached, radiation might not be the best option and other treatment may be offered. Getting radiation again to the same area is called re-irradiation.

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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 Long Does Radiation Therapy For Prostate Cancer Take

Finally, MRI and Radiation Therapy get together to fight Cancer like ...

The length of prostate cancer varies depending on a number of factors, such as the type, stage and location of the cancer. And while some people may be treated with only one therapy session, most of the time patients are subjected to a series of regular treatments that may run anywhere between one and eight weeks.

The treatment is usually administered once in a day, five days of a week, with each session only taking a few minutes. But then again, this may vary depending on the intensity of the spread, the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the type of radiation therapy being administered.

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