What to Expect During Your Radiation Therapy in Albuquerque
Radiation therapy in Albuquerque is a highly effective treatment option for many forms of cancer. This type of cancer treatment uses high-energy particles to destroy cancer cells and prevent them from spreading, and can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments. If you are undergoing radiation therapy in Albuquerque, it’s important to know what to expect. In this blog post, we’ll provide an overview of the radiation therapy process and what to expect during your treatment.
What is Radiation Therapy?
Radiation therapy is a common cancer treatment method used in Albuquerque and around the world. This type of treatment uses high-energy particles or waves, such as X-rays, gamma rays, or proton beams, to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It can be used alone or in combination with other treatments, like chemotherapy or surgery, to destroy cancer cells or prevent them from growing.
Radiation therapy is usually delivered through a machine that directs radiation beams at the area where the cancer is located. The radiation damages the DNA inside the cancer cells, causing them to die or stop dividing. It is a non-invasive treatment option that doesn’t require surgery, and it can be used to treat different types of cancer at different stages.
The radiation therapy plan for each patient is tailored to their specific cancer type, stage, and location. Before the treatment starts, the radiation oncologist will determine the dose and frequency of the radiation based on the patient’s medical history and physical exam. They will also consider any side effects that may occur and how to manage them.
In summary, radiation therapy is a powerful cancer treatment that can be used to target cancer cells and reduce the size of tumors. It is an effective treatment option for many types of cancer and can help patients achieve long-term remission.
How Does Radiation Therapy Work?
Radiation therapy is a highly effective cancer treatment that works by targeting cancer cells with high-energy particles, such as X-rays, gamma rays, or protons. These particles are carefully aimed at the cancerous tumor to damage the DNA inside the cancer cells and prevent them from dividing and spreading.
During radiation therapy in Albuquerque, a radiation oncologist will use special equipment to deliver the radiation precisely to the tumor, while sparing surrounding healthy tissues as much as possible. This is achieved through careful planning and precise positioning of the radiation source, using sophisticated imaging technologies such as CT scans, MRIs, or PET scans.
Depending on the type of radiation therapy used, the radiation can be delivered from inside the body (brachytherapy) or from outside the body (external beam radiation therapy). In external beam radiation therapy, a machine called a linear accelerator delivers the radiation to the tumor from outside the body, in a series of daily treatments over several weeks.
The goal of radiation therapy is to kill as many cancer cells as possible, while minimizing damage to nearby healthy tissues and organs. Depending on the type and stage of cancer, radiation therapy may be used alone or in combination with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or surgery.
While radiation therapy can cause some side effects, such as fatigue, skin changes, or nausea, these are often manageable and temporary. The radiation oncology team in Albuquerque will work closely with you to minimize these side effects and provide supportive care throughout your treatment.
Types of Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy can be administered in two main ways: externally or internally.
External radiation therapy involves using a machine called a linear accelerator, which directs high-energy beams of radiation to the cancerous area. This type of radiation therapy is the most common, and it can be used to treat many different types of cancer.
Internal radiation therapy, also known as brachytherapy, involves implanting radioactive sources directly into the body. This type of therapy is typically used to treat cancers in specific areas, such as the prostate, cervix, or uterus.
Another type of radiation therapy is systemic radiation therapy, which involves administering radioactive drugs into the body to kill cancer cells. This type of therapy is typically used for advanced-stage cancer, and it is often used in conjunction with other cancer treatments.
Your oncologist will determine the best type of radiation therapy for your particular case based on the type and stage of your cancer, as well as other individual factors.
It’s important to note that not all cancers are treated with radiation therapy. Some cancers may be more responsive to other types of treatment, such as chemotherapy or surgery.
In the next section, we’ll discuss what you can expect before your radiation therapy treatment.
What to Expect Before Your Radiation Therapy
Before starting radiation therapy, there are a few things you should expect to do in preparation for the treatment. The process will typically start with a consultation with your radiation oncologist to discuss your treatment plan, potential side effects, and any other concerns you may have. Here are some other things you should expect before your radiation therapy sessions:
- Imaging scans: Your radiation oncologist may order imaging scans, such as a CT scan or MRI, to map out the area that will be treated with radiation. These scans will help your oncologist determine the right dosage and type of radiation for your specific case.
- Simulation: Once the imaging scans have been completed, you may have a simulation session where your radiation oncologist will use the scans to simulate the treatment. During the simulation, you will be positioned on a table in the same way you will be positioned during the actual treatment. This will help ensure that the radiation is targeted accurately.
- Markers: Depending on the type of radiation therapy you receive, your radiation oncologist may use small tattoos or markers to mark the area that will receive the treatment. This will help ensure that the radiation is targeted accurately.
- Medications: You may be given medications to help manage side effects or to prevent infections during your radiation therapy sessions.
- Lifestyle changes: Your radiation oncologist may advise you to make some lifestyle changes, such as avoiding sun exposure, changing your diet, or stopping smoking, to help prepare your body for the treatment.
Preparing for radiation therapy can be overwhelming, but your radiation oncologist and medical team will be there to guide you every step of the way. Be sure to ask questions and voice any concerns you may have so that you feel comfortable and informed before starting your treatment.