A Simple Guide to Radiotherapy
ABOUT CANCER TREATMENT
BY COBALT MACHINE:
What is Radiation Therapy?Radiation therapy refers to the treatment of diseases by means of radiation.
What is Cobalt Machine?
Why Cobalt-60 Machine?
What are the Goals of Radiation
How Does Radiotherapy Work?
Although the radiation affects both cancer and
normal cells, it has a greater effect on the cancer cells. Treatment aimed
at cure will give the highest possible dose of radiation to the cancer
area (within safe limits) to attempt to kill all the cancer cells.
Sometimes smaller doses are used, where the aim is to reduce the size of a
tumour and/or relieve symptoms.
How is My Treatment Planned?
Every course of radiotherapy treatment is designed to suit the particular
needs of the person receiving it, so you will usually be asked to make a
preliminary visit to the Cancer Treatment Centre to have your course of
treatment planned. The oncologist and radiographers will do this (in
conjunction with x-rays and scans, using a machine called a simulator).
Your skin will be marked with coloured pens to define where you will have
your treatment. In addition, some minute permanent marks will
be made using a special dye and a tiny pin prick.These marks will
enable the radiographers to identify exactly the right area at every
treatment session. If a head shell has been made for you the guidance
marks will be put on the shell rather than on your skin. If you are having
radiotherapy to your mouth and/or throat you will need a dental assessment
at this stage as you may require some dental treatment before you start
is Radiotherapy Treatment Given?
Radiotherapy treatment is given using either a
machine called cobalt, linear accelerator or, for some skin tumours, a
superficial x-ray unit. To receive the radiotherapy, you will lie on a
couch and be asked to remain still during the actual treatment.
Consent: It is a legal requirement to
have a signed Consent Form from you before the start of your radiotherapy
treatment. If you have already been given one of these forms by the
oncologist who first advised radiotherapy, please bring the completed form
with you when you come for your first appointment. If you have not already
been given a form , this will be dealt with at your first appointment.
Will the Treatment make me Radioactive?
No. There is no
possibility of this whatsoever.
Long Will My Course of Treatment Last?
Your oncologist will tell you this once the appropriate treatment for you
has been decided. A course can last for anything from a single treatment
session to five treatments a week for six and a half weeks, depending on a
number of factors, e.g. the part of your body being treated and the aim of
Long Is Each Treatment Session?
This varies from machine to machine. Some machines
operate at a faster rate than others, and it also depends on the plan
worked out for you. The length of a treatment session can be anything from
five minutes to fifteen minutes. Occasionally a session may take longer,
but this will be explained on an individual basis. When you come for your
first treatment your radiographer will tell you how long each session will
Do I Have To Stay In Hospital?
If you are able to travel to hospital for treatment, there is usually no
need for you to be admitted (during the course). Most people are treated
as outpatients, but your oncologist will tell you if it would be better
for you to be admitted.
I Have Any Tests During Treatment?
During your course of treatment you may need to have
occasional blood tests and/or urine tests, depending on the part of your
body being treated. Some people also have x-rays and/or scans during their
treatment; this is part of the routine and nothing to worry about.
Am I Likely To Have Any Side-Effects?
Radiotherapy is a localised treatment, which means
that any side-effects will depend on the part of your body being
treated.Although many people have few, if any, side-effects, everyone
reacts differently and during your treatment you may experience one or
more of the following:
Published and issued by STATE CANCER
SOCIETY OF MEGHALAYA, for public interest.