Effects of Radiation Therapy Essay Sample
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The review of related literature in this chapter is composed of principles and discussions of facts about the side effects of radiation therapy to the cancer patients. The chapter begins with a brief history about radiology as a medical science, and radiation therapy as a form of medical treatment of diseases. Lastly it enumerates the side effects of radiation therapy and the risks associated with it. Brief History and Definitions
and Definitions of Radiology as a Medical Science In 1895 Roentgen began experiments at the University of Würzburg with an electric current flow in a partially evacuated glass tube known as a cathode-ray tube. He noticed that, whenever the tube was in operation, a piece of barium platino cyanide in line with it gave off light. According to Roentgen “the interaction of electrons striking the tube’s glass wall formed an unknown radiation that caused the fluorescence”.
He called the mysterious phenomenon X radiation, or X rays. Further experiments revealed that X radiation produces an image on photographic plates and penetrates many materials such as paper, wood, certain metals, and living tissue. For the first time physicians had a nonsurgical tool to see inside the body. (Source: http://www.northhertsradiologygroup.co.uk/history.html) Radiology is a medical specialty that employs the use of imaging to both diagnose and treat disease visualized within the human body. It is the performance of medical procedures with the guidance of imaging technologies. According to Medilexicon’s medical dictionary, “Radiology is the science of high energy radiation and of the sources and the chemical, physical and biologic effects of such radiation”
The acquisition of medical imaging is usually carried out by the radiographer or radiologic technologist. Radiographers are responsible for using complex and highly sophisticated equipment such as X-ray radiography, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to produce image that are used by radiologists to diagnose the extent of disease or injury. They take roentgen photographs of the body’s internal structures and treat abnormalities with radiation.
These images may be displayed on X-ray film, movie film, videotape, television monitors or computer read-outs for the well-being of patients during their investigation or treatment. The radiologist are specialized medical practitioners, who diagnose and treat diseases using radiant energies such as X-rays, ultrasound, gamma rays and radio waves and interprets or reads the images and produces a report of their findings or impressions and diagnosis. This report is then transmitted to the ordering physician, either routinely or emergently.
Radiation Therapy as a Form of Medical Treatment of Diseases
Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses beams of intense energy to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy most often gets its power from X-rays, but the power can also come from protons or other types of energy. The term “radiation therapy” most often refers to external beam radiation therapy. During this type of radiation, the high-energy beams come from a machine outside of your body that aims the beams at a precise point on your body. During a different type of radiation treatment, radiation is placed inside your body. Radiation therapy commonly applied to the cancerous tumor by destroying the genetic material that controls how cells grow and divide. The radiation fields may also include the draining lymph nodes if they are clinically or radiologically involved with tumor, or if there is thought to be a risk of subclinical malignant spread.
It is necessary to include a margin of normal tissue around the tumor to allow for uncertainties in daily set-up and internal tumor motion. These uncertainties can be caused by internal movement and movement of external skin marks relative to the tumor position.. While both healthy and cancerous cells are damaged by radiation therapy, the goal of radiation therapy is to destroy as few normal, healthy cells as possible. The Side Effects of Radiation Therapy to the Cancer Patients Radiation therapy can damage normal cells as well as cancer cells. Therefore, treatment must be carefully planned to minimize side effects. Side effects are problems that can happen as a result of radiation treatment vary from person to person. It all depends on how often treatment is given and a few other factors.
The radiation used for cancer treatment may come from a machine outside the body, or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near tumor cells or injected into the bloodstream. They may happen with radiation therapy because the high doses of radiation used to kill cancer cells can also damage healthy cells in the treatment area. Side effects are different for each person. Some people have many side effects; others have hardly any. Side effects may be more severe if you also receive chemotherapy before, during, or after your radiation therapy. Although patients do not feel anything during a radiation treatment, the effects of radiation gradually build up over time.
Most patients have very few initial side effects; however, many patients experience fatigue as treatment continues. The vast majority of patients are able to complete radiation therapy without significant difficulty. Side effects and potential complications of radiation therapy are infrequent and, when they do occur, are typically limited to the areas that are receiving treatment with radiation. The chance of experiencing side effects, however, is highly variable. A dose that causes some discomfort in one patient may cause no side effects in other patients. If side effects occur, you should inform the technologists and radiation oncologist, because treatment is almost always available and effective. Side effects are usually temporary and resolve once the radiation is completed.
The most common side effect of radiation are: a.) Skin reaction, occurs in the body that is being treated. The skin reaction can range from mild redness and dryness similar to a sunburn to severe peeling (desquamation) of the skin in some patients, b.) Fatigue, is a feeling of tiredness, weariness, weakness, exhaustion, or a profound lack of energy. c.) Hair loss, typically begins 2-4 weeks after the initiation of treatments. Some individuals experience thinning of the hair, while others experience complete hair loss. Hair loss caused by radiation is temporary. Typically, regrowth of hair begins 6-8 weeks after completion of radiation therapy.
d.) Nausea/Vomiting, feeling queasy or sick to your stomach and/or vomiting (throwing up), especially when the radiation is delivered to the abdominal area. Nausea/vomiting can happen immediately after radiation, can be delayed, or can occur in anticipation of receiving treatment. e.) Diarrhea, radiation treatment that is delivered to the abdominal area can cause diarrhea, which usually begins in the third or fourth week of radiation therapy. f.) Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and depression can contribute to a loss of appetite. g.) Low blood counts (myelosuppression), may cause changes in sleep or rest patterns during the radiation therapy period and some patients describe a sense of tiredness and fatigue. h.) Xerostomia (dry mouth ), can have a negative effect on quality of life by greatly impairing a patient’s ability to speak, chew, swallow, and taste. Other side effects of radiation therapy may form and vary depending on the body part that undergoes radiation therapy.
Radiation therapy is a kind of medical treatment that uses radiation in treatment for certain kinds of diseases like cancer. The use of radiation in the body causes a lot of effects, either good or bad. At first, radiation was discovered by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, a German physicist who experimented about the electric current flow in a partially evacuated glass tube known as Cathode Ray Tube. On this experiment, Roentgen noticed that during the operation of the electric flow in the tube a piece of barium platino-cyanide in line with it gave off light. According to Roentgen, the interaction of electrons striking the tube’s glass wall formed an unknown light (Radiation) that caused the flourescence. He called the mysterious phenomenon X Radiation. Later on, this X Radiation was called X-Ray. Nowadays, X-Rays are used in some medical procedures because during the previous experiments of it, scientist revealed that X-Rays produces an image on photographic plates and penetrates many materials such as paper, wood, living tissues, etc.
This was the first time that physicians had non-surgical tool to see whats inside in the human body. Radiology is a medical specialty that employs the use of imaging to both diagnose and treat disease visualized within the human body. The acquisition of medical imaging is usually carried out by the radiographer or radiologic technologist. Radiologist are specialized medical practitioners, who diagnose and treat diseases using radiant energies such as X-Rays, Ultrasound, Gamma Rays, etc. The reports of diagnoses are transmitted to the ordering physician. The uses of beams that has intense energy can kill cancer cells that causes sickness.
The Radiation Therapy gets its power from X-Rays, but the power can also come from protons or other types of energy. During a different type of radiation treatment, radiation is placed inside your body. Radiation therapy commonly applied to the cancerous tumors by destroying the genetic material that controls how cell growth and divide. It is necessary to include a margin of normal tissue around the tumor to allow for uncertainties in daily set-up and internal tumor motion. While both healthy and cancerous cells are damaged by radiation therapy, the goal of the procedure is to destroy as few normal, healthy cells as possible.
There are some negative side effects of radiation in the body. Radiation can damage normal cells as well as cancer cells. Some people have many side effects, others have hardly any. Side effects may be more severe if you also receive Chemotherapy before, during, or after the radiation therapy. Although patients do not feel anything during radiation treatment, the effects of radiation gradually build up overtime. Most patients have very few initial side effects. However, many patients experience fatigue as treatment happens.
The vast majority of patients that undergo this procedure are able to complete radiation therapy without significant difficulties. Side effects and potential complications of radiation therapy are infrequent and, when they do occur, are typically limited to the areas that are receiving treatment with radiation. The chance of experiencing side effects, however, is highly variable. A dose that cause some discomfort in one patient cause no side effects in other patients. The most common side effects of radiation are skin reaction, fatigue, hair loss, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, low blood counts (Myelosuppresion), and Xerostomia (Dry Mouth).
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