When Do Radiation And Chemotherapy Side Effects Start
You may experience side effects within a few hours of treatment as is the case with certain chemotherapy treatments that gradually begin to improve. Or you may not experience side effects until youve completed several treatment sessions, as is sometimes the case with radiation. Talk to your healthcare provider about when youre most likely to experience side effects based on your treatment type and schedule.
Types Of Cancer Treatment
There are many types of cancer treatment. The types of treatment that you receive will depend on the type of cancer you have and how advanced it is.
Some people with cancer will have only one treatment. But most people have a combination of treatments, such as surgery with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. When you need treatment for cancer, you have a lot to learn and think about. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and confused. But, talking with your doctor and learning about the types of treatment you may have can help you feel more in control. Our list of Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Treatment may help.
How Radiation Therapy And Chemotherapy Are Used To Treat Cancer
No body and no cancer is created equal. And no approach to cancer treatment should be created equal, too. While chemotherapy and radiation therapy are both designed to treat the body and to fight cancer, each does so in different ways.
Each person’s body and each type of cancer can respond to treatments differently, so this is where an expert-level of care with access to some of the most advanced treatments, technologies, research, physician specialists and a whole-person approach to care become so important.
While some patients may only receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy, others may receive a combination of both, or even additional treatments such as immunotherapy, more personalized medicine or clinical trials. These are all things that our cancer experts help patients with every day to offer the best possible outcomes for cancer treatment, recovery and cure.
Learn more about innovative cancer treatments at the AdventHealth Cancer Institute, or call for more information.
Recommended Reading: What Does Palliative Care Mean For Cancer Patients
How You Get Chemotherapy And Radiation
Both therapies typically happen over a period of weeks in regular visits to the hospital or doctorâs office. But each case is different, so talk to your doctor about the right treatment plan for you.
Your medical team will deliver your chemotherapy through one or more of these methods:
- IV: Through a needle or a tube directly into a blood vessel
- Oral: From a pill or capsule that you swallow
- Injection: Through a needle into the skin or muscle
Your medical team will deliver your radiation therapy through one or more of these methods:
- External radiation: A machine outside the body shoots invisible high-energy beams into the tumor.
- Internal radiation: This is sometimes called âbrachytherapy.â Doctors place a radioactive seed inside your body close to the tumor. They might leave it in to do its work or they may take it out soon afterward.
- Systemic radiation: Though less common, your doctor might suggest using radiation as a systemic treatment that works throughout the body. That means you get it from a pill you swallow or through a needle or port into one of your veins.
How Is Radiation Therapy Given
Radiation therapy can be given in 3 ways:
- External radiation : uses a machine that directs high-energy rays from outside the body into the tumor. Its done during outpatient visits to a hospital or treatment center. It’s usually given over many weeks and sometimes will be given twice a day for several weeks. A person receiving external radiation is not radioactive and does not have to follow special safety precautions at home.
- Internal radiation: Internal radiation is also called brachytherapy. A radioactive source is put inside the body into or near the tumor. With some types of brachytherapy, radiation might be placed and left in the body to work. Sometimes it is placed in the body for a period of time and then removed. This is decided based on the type of cancer. Special safety precautions are needed for this type of radiation for a period of time. But it’s important to know if the internal radiation is left in the body, after a while it eventually is no longer radioactive.
- Systemic radiation: Radioactive drugs given by mouth or put into a vein are used to treat certain types of cancer. These drugs then travel throughout the body. You might have to follow special precautions at home for a period of time after these drugs are given.
Read Also: Mild Toothpaste For Chemo Patients
Before Surgery Or Radiotherapy
The aim of chemotherapy before surgery is to shrink a tumour so that you need less surgery, or to make it easier to get all the cancer out. Shrinking the cancer with chemotherapy might also mean that you can have radiotherapy to a smaller area of your body.
Having chemotherapy before other treatments in this way is called neoadjuvant treatment. Sometimes doctors may call it primary treatment.
Radiation Vs Infusion Vs Chemotherapy: A Primer
A cancer diagnosis can be frightening and challenging for anyone it does not have to be though. As a patient learns more about their cancer diagnosis and treatment options, it can become much easier to face the challenge head-on. Knowledge and understanding does not just calm our fears, it can build our confidence. With this in mind, we thought we would take a moment today to briefly discuss three words you may often associate with modern cancer services: radiation, infusion, and chemotherapy. Any one or even all three of these words may be included as a part of a patients care at Southeastern Meds Cancer Center. No one option is necessarily superior to another. Recognizing the differences and connections between the words, however, is a great first step for any prospective patient with cancer and their loved ones.
First, well talk about Radiation Therapy. According to Southeastern Meds Director of Cancer Services, Dominic Crock, this type of treatment generally involves the use of a linear accelerator to precisely provide radiation to the targeted area in the body where a tumor has been found. The treatments goal is to destroy the cancer cells while minimizing any sacrifice of good cells, he says. Southeastern Meds new cancer center features the newest model of linear accelerator available. The new linear accelerator is on par with those found at larger cancer treatment centers.
You May Like: How Much Does Chemo Cost For Dogs
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.
What Are The Key Differences Between Chemotherapy And Radiation
The major difference between chemo and radiation is the way theyre delivered.
Chemotherapy is a medication given to treat cancer thats designed to kill cancer cells. Its usually taken by mouth or given through an infusion into a vein or medication port.
There are many different types of chemotherapy drugs. Your doctor can prescribe the type thats most effective at treating your specific type of cancer.
Chemotherapy can have many side effects, depending on the type that youre getting.
Radiation therapy involves giving high doses of radiation beams directly into a tumor. The radiation beams change the DNA makeup of the tumor, causing it to shrink or die.
This type of cancer treatment has fewer side effects than chemotherapy since it only targets one area of the body.
Don’t Miss: Breast Cancer Of The Nipple
Whats The Difference Between Chemotherapy And Radiation
Chemotherapy and radiation are two common types of cancer treatments.
- Chemotherapy treatments are powerful drugs that work throughout your entire bodys tissues and cells to kill fast-growing cells, including cancer cells. Alternatively, sometimes chemotherapy drugs are sent directly into an artery or cavity where the cancer is.
- Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to target a tumor directly, or it sometimes can be injected or taken as a liquid to target cancer cells throughout your body.
Both are used to treat a wide range of cancers, either alone or in combination with other therapies.
How Chemotherapy Works
Chemotherapy medications are designed to destroy cells in the body that divide rapidly specifically, cancer cells.
However, there are cells in other parts of your body that also divide rapidly but arent cancer cells. Examples include the cells in your:
Chemotherapy can unintentionally target and destroy these cells, too. This can cause a number of different side effects.
Your oncologist will be able to determine what kind of chemotherapy medications will be most effective at treating the type of cancer you have.
Also Check: Free Crochet Patterns For Chemo Caps
How Can Parents Help
Cancer treatment has come a long way. But it can be hard for kids and teens to cope with the sometimes painful or uncomfortable side effects. Fortunately, doctors have many ways to make treatments easier to manage.
Your child also might feel the emotional effects of having a serious illness. Answer questions and help explain what’s going on in an age-appropriate way. Turn to the care team when needed. A hospital support group, child life specialist, social worker, or psychologist from the team can help your child and your whole family before, during, and after cancer treatment.
You also can find information and support online at:
Why People With Cancer Receive Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy is used to treat cancer and ease cancer symptoms.
When used to treat cancer, radiation therapy can cure cancer, prevent it from returning, or stop or slow its growth.
When treatments are used to ease symptoms, they are known as palliative treatments. External beam radiation may shrink tumors to treat pain and other problems caused by the tumor, such as trouble breathing or loss of bowel and bladder control. Pain from cancer that has spread to the bone can be treated with systemic radiation therapy drugs called radiopharmaceuticals.
Read Also: Best Face Cream For Chemo Patients
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.
First Steps To Therapy
After an oncologist diagnoses a patient with cancer, there will be an initial meeting to discuss the next steps. The doctor will explain the treatment options and which one is likely to have a positive result. The oncologist will consider the type of cancer, what parts of the body are affected and how serious it is. How much the disease has spread will also help determine whether the oncologist uses radiation or chemotherapy going forward.
You May Like: Side Effects Of Radiation For Cancer
Types Of Radiation Therapy
Radiation can be administered in two ways: internally or externally:
External: External beam radiation is delivered from a machine. It is very similar to receiving a chest X-ray. Most people are treated five days a week for one to 10 weeks, depending on the type and location of cancer, their overall health, and other factors. The treatment only takes a few minutes, and is not generally given over the weekend.
You will be asked to lie flat on a treatment table, under the radiation machine. Other parts of your body may be protected with special shields or blocks to prevent the radiation from going to those areas.
External treatments include:
- 3D conformal radiation therapy after the tumor is mapped through imaging, beams of radiation treat the cancerous tumor.
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy gives the radiation oncologists the ability to more precisely custom sculpt the shape of the tumor. This helps deliver the right amount of radiation more accurately, as well as helps to preserve healthy tissue surrounding the tumor.
Internal: Radiation that is placed inside of the body is called internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy. A radioactive source, called an implant, is placed directly to the tumor or near the tumor. This delivers large doses of radiation to directly to the source of your cancer. These implants may look like a wire, pellet, or seeds.
The most common types of cancers treated with internal radiation therapy are:
What Is The Difference Between Chemotherapy And Radiotherapy
The main difference between chemotherapy and radiotherapy is that chemotherapy uses special drugs to shrink or kill cancer cells while radiotherapy uses high-energy beams such as X-rays or protons to kill cancer cells.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are two types of treatments used in cancer, which is an uncontrolled growth and spread of cells to surrounding tissues. The main goals of both treatments are to cure or get rid of cancer cells, control or shrink or slow cancer cells, and shrink tumors to reduce pain.
You May Like: Which Is Better Chemo Or Radiation
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.
ABOUT RADIATION THERAPY
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.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CHEMOTHERAPY AND RADIATION THERAPY
The key difference between the two is their delivery method.
What Is Internal Radiation Therapy
Internal radiation therapy is also called brachytherapy. This type of radiation therapy is when radioactive material is placed into the cancer or surrounding tissue. Implants may be permanent or temporary. This treatment may require a hospital stay.
The different types of internal radiation therapy include:
Permanent implants. These are tiny steel seeds that contain radioactive material. The capsules are about the size of a grain of rice. They deliver most of the radiation therapy around the implant area. However, some radiation may exit the patient’s body. This requires safety measures to protect others from radiation exposure. Over time, the implants lose radioactivity. The inactive seeds remain the body.
Temporary internal radiation therapy. This type of radiation therapy can be given by needle, through a tube called a catheter, and through special applicators. The radiation stays in the body for anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. Most people receive internal radiation therapy for just a few minutes. Sometimes, internal radiation therapy can be given for more time. If so, they stay in a private room to limit other people’s exposure to radiation.
Also Check: How To Help Someone With Cancer
Chemotherapy Vs Radiation Therapy
There are 4 major types of treatment for cancer radiation, chemotherapy , surgery and biologic therapies. Chemotherapy uses very strong drugs, and radiation therapy uses high energy waves to treat the disease by killing cancer cells. Radiation therapy is targeted to localized cancer i.e., specific organs in the body where cancerous tissue is present. Chemotherapy can be used when cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body.
What Are The Goals Of Radiation Therapy
The goals of radiation therapy depend on your type of cancer and if and how far it has spread. Radiation therapy can be given alone or as a part of a treatment plan that includes different treatments. Some of the ways radiation therapy is used include:
As the primary treatment. Often, the goal of radiation therapy is to get rid of all the cancer and keep it from coming back.
Before other treatments. Radiation therapy can be given before other treatments, such as surgery, to shrink a large tumor. This is called “neoadjuvant radiation therapy.”
After other treatments. Radiation therapy can be given after other kinds of treatments to destroy any remaining cancer cells. This is called “adjuvant radiation therapy.”
To relieve symptoms. Radiation therapy can be used to relieve the signs and symptoms of cancer. This is called “palliative radiation therapy.”
Radiation therapy can be used to treat many different types of cancer. More than half of people with cancer will receive some type of radiation therapy. For some cancers, radiation therapy alone is an effective treatment. Other types of cancer respond best to a combination of treatments. Radiation therapy can also be used to treat recurrent cancer and metastatic cancer. Recurrent cancer is cancer that comes back after treatment. Metastatic cancer is cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
Recommended Reading: Does Radiation Treatment Affect Your Immune System