Radiation therapy is a common treatment that is used to kill cancerous cells. This treatment reduces the Tumor and may also kill the cancerous cells. People diagnosed with cancer experience a hard time when choosing the treatment plan for their disease (cancer). Since several treatment plans can be used to treat cancer, you must know the pros and cons of each treatment before adopting it. In this article, we shall discuss some of the pros and cons associated with radiation therapy.
Pros of radiation therapy
1. Useful before tumor surgery. Some cancerous tumors are large, and therefore there’s a need to reduce their size before removing them. Therefore, the victim has to undergo radiation therapy to reduce the size of the Tumor and then undergo surgery to remove it. In this case, radiation therapy serves two purposes; to kill the cancer cells and reduce the Tumor’s size.
2. Control symptoms. To victims who have advanced or mature cancer, radiation therapy can reduce the symptoms and alleviate the pain associated with cancer. Therefore, it may be used as a painkiller during cancer surgery. Also, some other small sicknesses that are initiated by cancer can be controlled.
3. Lower treatment cost. Radiation therapy is a less than 1-hour session, and thus the victim does not have to stay in hospital. Therefore, you can stay at home as you attend these sessions. This helps reduce the treatment cost and make the victim productive as he can help with family chores.
4. Curbs spread cancer cells. By killing the cancerous cells, these radiations help control the spread of cancerous cells to another part of the body. Cancer cells regenerate and attack various parts of the body as the disease advances. Undergoing radiation therapy helps kill the cells, and thus the cells do not attack other body parts. Also, these radiation energies reduce the number of cells in the affected part of the body.
5. Alleviate pain. The radiation therapy treatments help to relieve the victim from the pain that comes from the Tumor. Cancerous cells are the main cause of pain, and therefore undergoing surgery may help relieve this pain. By killing the cancerous cells, the pain around the tumor region is reduced.
6. The Victim can be monitored by family members. Radiation therapy is mostly an outpatient treatment, meaning the victim can be close to his relatives. Family members can monitor the health progress of the victim. This is cheaper as compared to when the patient is in hospital.
7. May extend life. In most cases, cancerous tumors and cells lead to death if vital body parts are affected. However, radiation therapy can be used as a life-saver. This kind of treatment kills the cancerous cells around the affected area and thus extends the victim’s life.
8. Kills other microscopic diseases. Other small microscopic diseases build up around the tumor part. These diseases can be controlled by radiation therapy. Radiation therapy kills all small viruses and bacteria around the Tumor, which prevents the rise of other diseases.
9. Organ preservation. If the radiation therapy is successful (cancerous cells are completely killed), surgery can be avoided. Therefore the body part that contains the Tumor is not removed.
10. Stops growth of Tumor. Being one of the most used cancer treatment plans, it helps control the growth of cancerous tumors. The radiation therapy energy is administered to the region or part that has the cancerous Tumor. This kills the cancer cells and thus preventing the Tumor from growing. Also, it shrinks the Tumor completely.
Cons of radiation therapy
1. Hair loss. This is one of the common side-effects of undergoing radiation therapy. Sometimes the hair grows back again after few months of treatment, and in other cases, the hair disappears forever.
2. Damage to the surrounding skin. When this type of treatment (radiation therapy) is used, the surrounding tissues and skin are greatly affected. Depending on how close they are located from the Tumor, it may have harmful effects on some vital body parts like the heart, lungs, and kidney. Also, if the radiation is conducted on only one area of your body, the surrounding skin may become less sensitive and irritated.
3. Stomach disorders. When the radiation therapy is focused on your abdominal region or pelvic region, you are likely to experience stomach and bladder disorders, respectively. Some of the disorders that a radiation therapy victim can experience include diarrhea, nausea, and frequent urination.
4. It May is not effective. In case the Tumor is large, the radiation therapy treatment may not be effective. It may not kill all the cancerous cells found within the Tumor. Thus, the cells may regenerate and affect other body parts.
5. Poor healing conditions. In case the surgery is conducted after radiation, the healing process of the surgery wound would take a long time. This can be the case where the surgery is conducted in parts without good plasma circulation or within joints.
6. Cannot be used in all parts of the body. Radiation therapy is a powerful treatment method, and therefore it cannot be used in all parts of the body. For example, this treatment method cannot kill cancer tumors found within the heart and other vital body parts. Also, it may kill cancer cells that are not seen or detected by scanners.
7. Expensive method of treatment. Radiation therapy is an expensive method to kill cancerous cells. In most cases, it is conducted daily, six days per week, for 1-3 months, making it an expensive treatment method.
8. Inpatient Treatment. In case you have advanced cancer, you may be admitted to the hospital during the treatments. This increases the cost of treatment. However, this may vary with the immune system of the victim.
9. Causes tiredness. The person undergoing radiotherapy treatments usually gets tired easily. This limits him from participating in hard tasks.
10. Breathing and swallowing difficulty. If the radiation is focused on the victim’s chest, they are likely to experience these side effects.