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A Mighty Weapon To Fight Cancer: Radiotherapy & Its Advances

December 10, 2016

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Radiotherapy

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With Cancer trying to conquer many lives day by day, science is also advancing to curb the deadly disease every day. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) estimated approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer related deaths in 2012. Cancer is a multigenic and multicellular disease that can arise from all cell types and organs with a multi-factorial etiology. To control the rapid multiplication of cancerous cells, advanced treatments like Radiation Therapy are playing an important role.

What is Radiotherapy?

Therapeutic radiation is a technique used to destroy cancer cells. It's similar to X-rays but with higher frequency and different wavelengths. The radiation used in this therapy is called ionizing radiation because it forms ions (electrically charged particles) and deposits energy in the cells of the tissues it passes through. This deposited energy can kill cancer cells or cause genetic changes resulting in cancer cell death. The radiation used can damage the normal cells along with the cancerous ones but now with the advances in technology, the damage to normal cells has been minimized. As normal cells have the ability to repair faster on its own, cancer cells cannot repair the damage caused by radiation treatment resulting in differential cancer cell killing.

Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells or to relieve the patients from the symptoms of cancer. It is also combined with other treatments like surgery, chemotherapy or immunotherapy. Before surgery, it helps in reducing the size of the tumor and after surgery, it can kill the microscopic tumor cells that may have been left behind.

radiotherapy

Advances in Radiation Treatment

Safety is the most important consideration, so significant advances in radiation oncology are made every now and then so as to use precise and safe treatments to map and treat cancer. With recent advancement like moving from two-dimensional to four-dimensional imaging, more targeted treatment is now possible with minimal dose in shortest time. Radiation treatment is usually given in two ways, one is externally using Linear Accelerators & the second is internally, by using micros-electron with HDR Brachytherapy machines. The following are the advanced treatments now available in treating cancer:

1. Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)

2. Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT)

3. Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)

4. Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

5. Stereotactic Radio Surgery (SRS)

6. Stereotactic Radiation Therapy (SRT)

7. Three-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy (3-D CRT)

8. Respiratory Gating

As medicine has not yet advanced to the point where we can easily say that a particular treatment will only work on a specific subtype of a given type of cancer, such radiation therapies can come to rescue. With such great advanced technologies now available at Shalby Hospital, Indore, fighting cancer is possible. We hope for much more such advancements in the future whereby cancer is becoming a Totally Curable Disease.

By Dr. S.P. Shrivastava

Radiation Oncologist

Shalby Hospital Indore

Contact: +91 7316677700

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