If you have recently been diagnosed with cancer, you and your oncologist have likely discussed your treatment options which probably include but are not limited to: chemotherapy, surgery, and even radiation therapy. If radiation therapy is an option that you are considering, it’s important to understand the different types that can be used to treat your cancer depending on the location and severity of this disease. Read on to learn more.
External Beam Radiation Therapy
As one of the most common forms of radiation therapy, external beam radiation therapy uses a machine to target your cancer by using high energy rays from the outside of your body.Similar to an X-ray, the actual radiation treatment only takes a few minutes but due to the set-up and take-down time of the equipment, you may be at the doctor’s office for around 30 minutes. External beam radiation therapy is an outpatient treatment, many patients receive this form of radiation therapy over a few weeks depending on how large the tumor is that is being targeted.
Internal Radiation Therapy
Internal radiation therapy, or brachytherapy, involves inserting implants such as pellets, seeds, ribbons, wires, needles, capsules, balloons, or tubes in order to target the tumor. By receiving either general or local anesthesia, patients who receive this type of treatment will insert these radioactive implants into the tumor in order to properly get rid of it.
Systemic Radiation Therapy
This type of radiation therapy involves ingesting a radioactive substance like iodine which then travels through the body and kills any cancer cells on the way. This procedure isn’t painful but will need to be closely monitored by a radiation specialist or oncologist.
As you can see there are several options available to treat cancer using radiation therapy. Depending on the location of your cancer and how advanced it is, both you and your oncologist can decide which option is the best for your current condition. To learn more about radiation therapy or radiation in general, contact our office today!