Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, is used for the treatment of cancer. High-powered radiation is aimed at cancer cells to destroy them. The use of radiation to treat cancer depends on the stage of the disease, the type of cancer, and the health of the patient.
 

The locations and types of cancers that can be targeted with radiation are as follows:

  • Head and neck – nasal and sinus cancer, nasal cancer, oral cancer, neck cancer, laryngeal cancer, and salivary gland and thyroid cancer
  • Chestlung cancer, esophageal cancer, lymphoma, and breast cancer
  • Abdomen – stomach cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer, and lymphoma
  • Lower abdomencolon cancer, bladder cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, and prostate cancer


Radiation Therapy to the Head and Neck

Radiation to the head and neck is used to treat the following cancers: brain cancer, nasal and sinus cancer, nasal cancer, oral cancer, neck cancer, laryngeal cancer, and salivary gland and thyroid cancer. 

Treatment with Radiation

The patient’s head and neck will be positioned and a plastic mask may be used to hold the head and neck steady during treatment. The doctor will carry out the radiation therapy according to the treatment plan established. The type of radiation and the duration of the treatment will vary depending on the technique used. Radiation therapy takes approximately two to 10 minutes, and including preparing the patient, the procedure can take between 15 to 25 minutes. Radiation therapy is carried out five times a week, lasting a total of five to eight weeks, depending on the type of cancer and the treatment plan created by the doctor.

Common Side Effects and Management

Side Effect
Management
Skin redness, dryness, or itching
- Expose the skin to as much air as possible, but avoid sunlight.
- Skin can be exposed to water, but be sure to dry it with a soft cloth.
- Don’t use soap, perfume, power, or cosmetics on the skin; only apply the medication prescribed by the doctor.
 
Sore throat, dry mouth, and taste alteration
- Sip water often.
- Maintain good oral health by brushing your teeth with a soft toothbrush and flossing regularly. Clean dentures after every meal. Avoid the mouthwash that is sold at the stores.
- Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, eating spicy food or food that is too hold or too cold. Eat soft, bland, well-cooked food that is easy to swallow.
- If side effects are severe please contact the doctor immediately.
 
Fatigue
- Rest as much as possible.
- Eat nutritious foods.
- Reduce stress.
- In general fatigue will slowly go away on its own after radiation therapy is completed. If side effects are severe, please contact the doctor immediately.
 
Remark: Other side effects may occur on the area where radiation is targeted, depending on each patient. Please consult the referring doctor with any questions and/or concerns.

Radiation Therapy to the Chest

Radiation to the chest is used to treat the following cancers: lung cancer, esophageal cancer, lymphoma and breast cancer. 

Treatment with Radiation

During the radiation treatment the patient must lie still. The patient may be asked to raise their arms over their heads or keep them at their sides. The patient should breathe normally. Radiation therapy takes approximately two to 10 minutes, and including preparing the patient, the procedure can take between 15 to 25 minutes. Radiation therapy is carried out five times a week, lasting a total of five to eight weeks, depending on the type of cancer and the treatment plan created by the doctor.

Common Side Effects and Management

Side Effect
Management
Skin redness, dryness, or itching
- Expose the skin to as much air as possible, but avoid sunlight.
- Skin can be exposed to water, but be sure to dry it with a soft cloth.
- Don’t use soap, perfume, power, or cosmetics on the skin; only apply the medication prescribed by the doctor.
 
Painful swallowing
- Eat liquid or soft foods and sip water often. If unable to eat at all, contact the doctor immediately.
 
Dry cough
- Sip water often. If side effects are severe, please contact the doctor immediately.
 
Fatigue
- Rest as much as possible.
- Eat nutritious foods.
- Reduce stress.
- In general fatigue will slowly go away on its own after radiation therapy is completed. If side effects are severe, please contact the doctor immediately.
 
Remark: Other side effects may occur on the area where radiation is targeted, depending on each patient. Please consult the referring doctor with any questions and/or concerns.

Radiation Therapy to the Abdomen

Radiation to the abdomen is used to treat the following cancers: stomach cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer, and lymphoma. 

Treatment with Radiation

During the treatment the patient should lay still and breathe normally. The radiologist will adjust the patient’s position and the location for radiation according to the treatment plan established. Radiation will be administered as per the technique specified in the treatment plan. Radiation therapy takes approximately two to 10 minutes, and including preparing the patient, the procedure can take between 15 to 25 minutes. Radiation therapy is carried out five times a week, lasting a total of five to eight weeks, depending on the type of cancer and the treatment plan created by the doctor.

Common Side Effects and Management

Side Effect
Management
Skin redness, dryness, or itching
- Expose the skin to as much air as possible, but avoid sunlight.
- Skin can be exposed to water, but be sure to dry it with a soft cloth.
- Don’t use soap, perfume, power, or cosmetics on the skin; only apply the medication prescribed by the doctor.
 
Nausea two to three hours after radiation
- Avoid eating two to three hours before radiation therapy or eat a light meal. This will help alleviate nausea that follows.
 
Vomiting
- Consult the doctor for prescription of antiemetic medication.
 
Diarrhea two to four weeks after radiation
- Eat foods low in fiber and avoid raw fruits and vegetables. Patients may eat well-cooked vegetables and very ripe fruits.
- Avoid fried and oily foods, dairy, foods with strong tastes, and alcohol.
- Drinks plenty of water.
- If diarrhea is severe, please contact the doctor immediately.
 
Fatigue
- Rest as much as possible.
- Eat nutritious foods.
- Reduce stress.
- In general fatigue will slowly go away on its own after radiation therapy is completed. If side effects are severe, please contact the doctor immediately.
 

Remark: Other side effects may occur on the area where radiation is targeted, depending on each patient. Please consult the referring doctor with any questions and/or concerns.


Radiation Therapy to the Lower Abdomen

Radiation to the lower abdomen is used to treat the following cancers: colon cancer, bladder cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, and prostate cancer. 

Treatment with Radiation

During the treatment the patient should lay still and breathe normally. The radiologist will adjust the patient’s position and the location for radiation according to the treatment plan established. Radiation will be administered as per the technique specified in the treatment plan. Radiation therapy takes approximately two to 10 minutes, and including preparing the patient, the procedure can take between 15 to 25 minutes. Radiation therapy is carried out five times a week, lasting a total of five to eight weeks, depending on the type of cancer and the treatment plan created by the doctor. 

Common Side Effects and Management

Side Effect
Management
Skin redness, dryness, or itching
- Expose the skin to as much air as possible, but avoid sunlight.
- Skin can be exposed to water, but be sure to dry it with a soft cloth.
- Don’t use soap, perfume, power, or cosmetics on the skin; only apply the medication prescribed by the doctor.
 
Frequent or painful urination
- Drink plenty of water, especially low acid fruit juices.
- Don’t hold urine.
 
Diarrhea or sense of urgency to have a bowel movement
- Eat foods low in fiber and avoid raw fruits and vegetables. Patients may eat well-cooked vegetables and very ripe fruits.
- Avoid fried and oily foods, dairy, foods with strong tastes, and alcohol.
- Drinks plenty of water.
- If diarrhea is severe, please contact the doctor immediately.
 
Infrequent bowel movements two to four weeks after radiation
- Please contact the doctor if constipated or bowel movements are infrequent.
 
Fatigue
- Rest as much as possible.
- Eat nutritious foods.
- Reduce stress.
- In general fatigue will slowly go away on its own after radiation therapy is completed. If side effects are severe, please contact the doctor immediately.
 
Remark: Other side effects may occur on the area where radiation is targeted, depending on each patient. Please consult the referring doctor with any questions and/or concerns.
 

Monitoring the Results of Treatment

During radiation treatment the radiologist will assess the results of the treatment weekly and manage the side effects that occur. Furthermore the patient may need to undergo blood tests as well. Patients with severe side effects from the radiation may need to stop the treatment or be admitted into the hospital for observation or may need medication to alleviate the conditions, depending on the doctor’s recommendation.
 
After radiation therapy is completed the patient must continue to follow the same procedures they did during radiation for at least two to three weeks. Two to four weeks after treatment is completed the doctor will schedule a visit to follow up on the results of the treatment. After that visits will be scheduled every one to three months, depending on the type of treatment and its process. Follow-up visits will then be even farther apart, every four to six months, for five years. If, after five years, the patient shows no signs of the disease, follow-up visits will occur once a year.
 

Location

Horizon Cancer Center
Bumrungrad International Hospital (BIH) Building , 3rd floor, South Wing
Bumrungrad International Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand
 

For Appointments and Inquiries:

Fax. +66 (0) 2011 5151
Online Appointment: Make appointment here
Learn more: Ask us a question
 
Rating score: 9.85 of 10, based on 13 vote(s)