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FAQs for RADIOTHERAPY

Certain cancers may be treated by swallowing radioactive pills or receiving radioactive fluids in the vein (intravenous). This type of treatment is called systemic radiation therapy because the medicine goes to the entire body. Radioactive iodine capsules are given to treat some types of thyroid cancer or to treat pain due to cancer that has spread to the bone.

Radiosurgery is a now a proven alternative to conventional surgery in the treatment of Brain Tumours. Brain Tumour does not necessarily mean cancer. Only 50% of the Brain Tumours are malignant, the rest are benign. Most Brain Tumours need to be treated with surgery or by opening the head. This procedure is done with techniques known as Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Radiotherapy (SRS / SRT).

The superior efficacy of Radiosurgery offers lower risk of complications, shorter hospital stay, reduced morbidity and improved quality of life as compared to the conventional methods of treatment. Stereotactic radiotherapy is a technique that allows to precisely focus beams of radiation to destroy certain types of tumors. In addition to treating some cancers, radiosurgery can also be used to treat malformations in the brain's blood vessels and certain noncancerous (benign) neurologic conditions. 

Radiation therapy is usually well tolerated and many patients are able to continue their normal routines but sometimes it causes side effects. Many of the side effects of radiation therapy are only in the area being treated. These side effects are usually temporary and can be treated by your doctor or other members of the treatment team. Side effects usually begin by the second or third week of treatment and they may last for several weeks after the final radiation treatment. Information about how to manage them and prescribed medicines or changes in your eating habits helps relieve discomfort.

  • Seek out support - There are many emotional demands that you must cope with during your cancer diagnosis and treatment. It is common to feel anxious, depressed, afraid or hopeless. It may help to talk about your feelings with a close friends, family members, nurse, social workers, a support group or psychologist.
  • Get plenty of rest - Many patients experience fatigue during radiation therapy, so it is important to make sure you are well rested. If possible, ask friends and family to help you out during treatment, by running errands and preparing meals. This will help you get the rest you need to focus on fighting your cancer.
  • Follow doctor's orders - In many cases, your doctor will ask you to call if you have developed a fever of 101° or higher.
  • Eat a balanced, nutritious diet - A nutritionist, nurse or doctor may work with you to make sure you are eating the right foods to get the vitamins and minerals you need. With certain types of radiation, you may need to change your diet to minimize side effects.
  • Treat the skin that is exposed to radiation with extra care - The skin in the area receiving treatment may become red and sensitive, similar to getting a sunburn. Following are some guidelines:
    • Clean the skin daily with warm water and a mild soap
    • Avoid using any lotions, perfumes, deodorants or powders in the treatment area unless approved. Try not to use products containing alcohol and perfumes.
    • Avoid putting anything hot or cold on the treated skin. This includes heating pads and ice packs.

         Stay out of the sun. If you must spend time outdoors, wear a hat or clothing to protect your skin. After treatment, use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.

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