Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Is Radiation And Chemo The Same

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Ask the Expert: What is the difference between radiation and chemo therapy?

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Chemotherapy Versus Radiationwhats The Difference

A pets cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, and explanations about cancer types, prognosis, and treatment options may be difficult to comprehend when you are blindsided by your beloved companions illness. If your family veterinarian has diagnosed cancer in your pet, the Veterinary Referral Centers oncology department will consult with them to design a treatment plan that best addresses your pets cancer, and ensure you understand every step of the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. Your pets treatment likely will include chemotherapy and/or radiation, two common cancer treatments that our oncologists use, independently or combined with other modalities, such as surgery, to target cancer cells.

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is the administration of medication that can kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. The medications are often the same as those used for human cancer patients, and your pets exact medications will depend on their cancer type. Your pet may receive one chemotherapy medication at a time, or a combination of medications to target the cancer.

How is chemotherapy administered to pets?

Chemotherapy medications may be administered by various routes however,

What cancer types are treated with chemotherapy?

What are chemotherapys side effects in a pet?

What is radiation therapy?

How is radiation therapy administered to pets?

What side effects are expected after a pet has radiation therapy?

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Things To Know About Radiation

1. OverviewRadiation therapy is a treatment for tumors and cancer. It uses high energy and concentration of radiation in order to shrink tumors or kill cancer cells by damaging their DNA. Nearly half of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy during their treatment.

2. How?If your doctor has decided that radiation will be an effective treatment for your specific form of cancer than a CT scan will be performed in order to begin mapping out the exact position and locations that the radiation will be administered. The oncologist will treat the tumor as well as a small portion of healthy cells around, this is done to ensure that the tumor has been hit.

4. Side EffectsThere are some general side effects to radiation therapy but the majority of serious ones are site specific. This means that the area being treated will most likely experience the most effects. Some of the common ones are:Skin Problems Fatigue

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What Cancer Treatment Is Best For Me

It is important that you understand your options, so patients are encouraged to ask questions. If you choose to research the types of cancer treatments available, make sure youre using a reliable source. Your oncologist and health care team will work closely with you to determine your best treatment plan.

For more information on chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and the treatment options, visit UPMC Hillman Cancer Center website.

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

Chemo and Radiation Are the Top 1 Cancer Causing Treatments Why Would ...

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

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To Cure Or Shrink Early

Some cancers are very sensitive to radiation. Radiation may be used by itself in these cases to make the cancer shrink or completely go away. In some cases, chemotherapy or other anti-cancer drugs may be given first. For other cancers, radiation may be used before surgery to shrink the tumor , or after surgery to help keep the cancer from coming back .

For certain cancers that can be cured either by radiation or by surgery, radiation may be the preferred treatment. This is because radiation can cause less damage and the part of the body involved may be more likely to work the way it should after treatment.

For some types of cancer, radiation and chemotherapy or other types of anti-cancer drugs might be used together. Certain drugs help radiation work better by making cancer cells more sensitive to radiation. Research has shown that when anti-cancer drugs and radiation are given together for certain types of cancer, they can help each other work even better than if they were given alone. One drawback, though, is that side effects are often worse when they are given together.

Ways To Support Your Immune System After Chemo And Radiotherapy

After chemo and/or radiation its important to protect yourself from infection. You can do this by:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Pain, redness, swelling, and warmth anywhere in your body

If you go to urgent care or the emergency room for treatment, be sure to tell the staff youve had cancer and what kind of treatments you have had. This will help them understand the seriousness of the situation.

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Goals Of Chemotherapy And Radiation

Both types of therapy share the same goals:

  • Cure: Get rid of all cancer cells and stop the cancer from coming back
  • Control: Shrink or slow cancer tumors or stop the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body
  • Relief: Shrink tumors to lessen pain and other difficult symptoms of cancer

When a cure isnât possible, both therapies can be powerful tools to slow the progress of your cancer and relieve pain and other uncomfortable symptoms.

Being Prepared And Understanding Radiation Therapy Can Help Lessen Some Of The Stress Surrounding Your Treatment

Radiation Treatment vs. Chemotherapy

Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, is one of the main treatments for cancer. Being prepared and understanding radiation therapy can help lessen some of the stress surrounding your treatment. Ask your oncologist, doctor or nurse about the risks and benefits of radiation therapy and any other questions you have about your treatment.

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How Long Do Side Effects Last

Most side effects start to go away after cancer treatment ends and the healthy cells have a chance to grow again. How long this takes typically on a child’s overall health and the types and amounts of drugs and/or radiation they had.

Sometimes, though, cancer treatment can cause lasting changes to a growing body. These long-term side effects can include damage to the heart, lungs, brain, nerves, kidneys, thyroid gland, or reproductive organs. In some cases, kids and teens who’ve had some types of chemotherapy have a higher risk for a second type of cancer later in life.

Before treatment, the doctor will talk to you about your child’s risk of late effects and what precautions can be taken before treatment, if any. For example, some teens who undergo treatments that have fertility risks can take preventive measures like egg or sperm preservation.

Potential Causes Of Lung Cancer

Although smoking is a common cause of lung cancer, many people who develop lung cancer quit smoking long before their diagnosis or never smoked in the first place. Exposure to carcinogens such as asbestos and radon can also cause non-small cell lung cancer.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fiber used in construction materials, vehicle parts, fireproof clothing and equipment, and many household products for many years. Even after asbestos was discovered to be a carcinogen, some manufacturers continued to use it in their products.

Radon is a radioactive gas that forms when uranium, radium, and other radioactive metals break down in soil, rock, and water. Since radon is odorless, people can be exposed to it for years and have no idea. Radon occurs naturally in the atmosphere in trace amounts, but when it enters homes and buildings through cracks in the foundation, it becomes trapped and builds up in the air.

Building owners and landlords can test for radon and take steps to protect people who live and work in their buildings, but many do not.

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Side Effects Of Radiotherapy

As well as killing cancer cells, radiotherapy can damage some healthy cells in the area being treated.

This can cause some side effects, such as:

  • sore skin that might change colour to red, lighter or darker than your usual skin tone
  • hair loss in the area being treated

Many of these side effects can be treated or prevented and most will go away after treatment stops.

External radiotherapy does not make you radioactive, as the radiation passes through your body.

The radiation from implants or injections can stay in your body for a few days, so you may need to stay in hospital and avoid close contact with other people for a few days as a precaution.

Read more about the side effects of radiotherapy.

How Long Will Side Effects Last

Chemo and radiation are the top #1 cancer causing treatments

In time, most side effects go away. However, some may be permanent and others may not appear until after treatment has finished.

If the side effects are severe, the radiation oncologist may change the treatment or prescribe a break. If the doctor thinks pausing treatment could affect how well the treatment is working then a break may not be possible.

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Combining Radiation And Chemotherapy May Improve Outcomes


In the right cancer, radiation and chemotherapy can make a powerful duo.

Like many people with cancer, Gordon Cole underwent a variety of treatments. After receiving a diagnosis of stage 4 rectal cancer in August 2003, the 63-year-old commercial real estate appraiser in Greensboro, N.C., endured multiple surgeries, several rounds of different chemotherapy agents and targeted therapies, and radiation.

As part of his treatment regimen, Cole also received chemoradiotherapy chemotherapy and radiation given concurrently on two occasions. The first time was just after his diagnosis, with an oxaliplatin-based regimen, Cole says, while the second time was more recent, sandwiched between two three-month segments of standard chemotherapy.

Side effects werent too bad, he says, just fatigue toward the last quarter of radiation, and of course, the usual sensitivity to cold from the oxaliplatin. Radiation therapy and chemotherapyestablished treatments for an array of cancer typeswere traditionally given at separate intervals. But CRT is rapidly becoming the regimen of choice in a growing number of cases.

Chemoradiation is now the standard of care for several types of solid tumors that are intermediate stage, says Everett E. Vokes, chairman of the department of medicine at the University of Chicago. For example, it is widely used for treating lung, esophageal, and head and neck cancers, he adds.

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Which Is Harder On The Body: Chemo Or Radiation

It is difficult to say what cancer therapy will be more difficult for your body to handle. Different types and dosages of both chemotherapy and radiation will have different effects.

These effects also differ by the person getting them. So, for example, someone on one treatment might have extreme nausea, while another might have extreme tiredness.

A systemic treatment like chemotherapy or liquid radiation may have more off-target side effects than a local treatment. But local treatments that are administered only to the cancer site, like external beam radiation or solid internal radiation treatment, may have more extreme side effects in that area of the body.

Ask your doctor about what treatment options apply to you and how they could adjust these treatments or care for your symptoms if you have side effects.

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Radiations Benefits And Risks

Radiation treatments can continue killing cancer cells for weeks or months after your initial treatment.

Different types of radiation treatment will have different risks and side effects. For example, local radiation can have side effects if nearby healthy tissues are damaged during treatment.

Side effects of radiation may include nausea, mouth sores, and throat problems that make it hard to eat. Youll also feel exhausted and weak as your body works to heal and remove damaged cells.

Systemic radiation with an internal radioactive liquid can have more side effects throughout the body. Still, local radiation can have specific side effects depending on where in the body you are getting treated.

You’ll likely feel pretty good when starting radiation treatment but feel progressively more run-down as your treatments continue, and even after they’re done. Side effects from radiation should improve within a few weeks or months, but some may persist or show up in the longer termmonths or even years after treatment.

How Many Times Can You Have Radiation Therapy

Chemo and Radiation | Cancer Treatment Week 1

As noted above, repeat radiation therapy has been tried in some types of head and neck cancers. However, in most patients, radiation treatment is given once. To qualify as a potential candidate for the second round of radiotherapy, the patient must meet certain conditions, including a good general health status, a small localized recurrence of the tumor that is well-circumscribed, clean surgical margins, more than 6 months having passed since the initial round of radiation therapy, availability of documentation on the initial radiotherapy for evaluation, a reserve capacity in the surrounding normal tissue to withstand radiation, and assessment and recommendation by an interdisciplinary cancer treatment team.

Notably, a second round of radiation therapy alone may not work. Without surgery, cancer has a high chance of coming back. A crucial part of successful treatment of the disease is a collaborative approach with the radiation oncologist working with the surgeon.

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Can Chemotherapy And Radiation Be Used Together

Chemotherapy and radiation can be used together and often are when used to treat lung cancer. Generally, stage 3 lung cancer is treated with radiation and chemotherapy together. Stage 3 lung cancers cant usually be removed completely by surgery, and a combination treatment plan is suggested.

In fact, some chemotherapy medications make cancer cells more sensitive to radiation, allowing the radiation to work better at killing the cancer cells when they are given together.

Possible Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy

If youre going to get radiation therapy, its important to ask your doctor about the possible short- and long-term side effects so that you know what to expect. Possible side effects of radiation therapy for colon and rectal cancer can include:

  • Skin irritation at the site where radiation beams were aimed, which can range from redness to blistering and peeling
  • Problems with wound healing if radiation was given before surgery
  • Rectal irritation, which can cause diarrhea, painful bowel movements, or blood in the stool
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Bladder irritation, which can cause problems like feeling like you have to go often , burning or pain while urinating, or blood in the urine
  • Fatigue/tiredness
  • Sexual problems
  • Scarring, fibrosis , and adhesions that cause the tissues in the treated area to stick to each other

Most side effects should get better over time after treatment ends, but some problems may not go away completely. If you notice any side effects, talk to your doctor right away so steps can be taken to reduce or relieve them.

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Radiation And Chemotherapy: What Are The Differences

When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, they are often presented with three main treatment options chemotherapy radiation therapy and surgery. These can be done singularly or in combination with each other. The two most common treatments physicians recommend are radiation and chemotherapy. They both have the same goals, which are to:

  • Eliminate Cancer When used to destroy cancer cells to the point that it is no longer detectable in the patients body and will not grow back.
  • Control Cancer When used to keep cancer from spreading, to slow its growth or to destroy cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body.
  • Ease Cancer Symptoms Also known as palliative care, both radiation and chemotherapy can be used to shrink tumors that are causing pain or pressure.

While they may have the same goals overall, radiation and chemotherapy have very different ways of achieving those objectives.


Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. It works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells, which grow and divide quickly.


Radiation therapy involves high doses of radiation being delivered directly into the tumor to kill cancer cells. This treatment option may be used to eliminate cancer or help control the disease and ease the symptoms that it causes.


The key difference between the two is their delivery method.


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