Radiation therapy is not the most preferred form of treatment for bone cancer. Surgery is usually preferred over radiation because the cancer cells tend to be very resistant to radiation. Apart from the case of Ewing’s sarcoma in which the radiation therapy is almost as effective as surgery, it is avoided as several side-effects have been reported post therapy. Many healthy body parts including nerves can get damaged after radiation therapy for bone cancer.
Some Side-effects of Undergoing Radiation Therapy for Bone Cancer
Usually radiation does have a bad impact on your health and can cause:
- The area receiving radiation reddens and looks much like sunburn.
- Hair loss in the area of receiving the radiation.
The following steps can help you minimise the side-effects of bone cancer radiation:
- Take plenty of rest.
- Have nutritious diet.
- Prevent reddening of skin with the creams and lotions recommended by your doctor. Ask him for one if he does not recommend himself.
- Wear loose clothing on the body area that is radiated.
- Avoid exposure to the sun as much as possible.
New researches in radiation therapy for bone cancer have brought down the risk of damage due to radiation. The new advances in this therapy implies higher beam of radiation with lesser resultant damage to the surrounding tissues.
Intensity of Side-effects due to different Radiation Therapies
- External Beam Radiation – In this type of radiation treatment, the focus of the radiation is at specific sites of cancerous growth, and the radiation is directed externally. The side-effect is that all the healthy skin, tissues and even nerves that lie between the cancer site and the external beam gets damaged. The worst side-effect which is always a possibility with this radiation therapy is that some types of body functions may be impaired due to nerve damage.
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy – This is a method which uses the same external radiation targeted at cancer cells. The difference is that the area being targeted is more specific as because of the ability of the device to emit radiation the shape of the tumour. The large round beam emitted in external beam radiation therapy is more harmful.
- Proton-Beam Radiation – The side-effect of this therapy is much the same as the above two. The difference in this therapy is that the radiation beam does not go into the body. In other words it is a non-invasive way of radiation therapy and the radiation beams only target the cancerous growth.
Read more articles on Bone Cancer Treatment