Ten Key Points About Radiation Therapy

  • To kill cancer cells that may still exist once the cancer has been removed through surgery Radiation is applied which is a local, targeted therapy. The area where the cancer started or another part of the body to which the cancer has spread can be exposed to radiation for treatment.
  • During the exposure to radiation at the actual delivery of radiation beams on the area, the treatment is painless. But over time some discomfort may be caused by the radiation.
  • No patient is made radioactive with external radiation treatment, which is the most common kind of radiation therapy.
  • Radiation treatment course goes up to 7 weeks with radiation being given 5 days a week or in certain cases twice a day for 1 week depending upon the situation.
  • The radiation treatment in a day usually takes about 30 minutes.
  • Loss of hair in radiation occurs only when the radiation is given to the head.
  • As a side effect to the radiation, in the area receiving radiation, skin may discolor to pink, red, or tan, and feel sensitive and irritated. To soothe these symptoms, on doctors recommendation creams and other medicines can be applied.
  • Fatigue is a side effect of the treatment course and this tired feeling may continue up to for a few weeks -- even months -- after treatment ends.
  • Most radiation side effects are temporary.
  • Recurrence risk of breast cancer is significantly reduced with radiation therapy.
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