Radiotherapy is a treatment advocated in the first stages of cancer treatment or in later stages to relieve pain and finish off the remaining cancer cells. It can also be used for non-cancerous tumors to reduce the size before the operation.
There are two types of radiotherapies; internal and external beam therapy. The kind of therapy you go for is determined by your diagnosis.
Some cancer patients who go through it don’t advance to chemotherapy or operation. However, after the treatment, you adjust to life post-therapy, and this article provides the essentials to think about after radiation therapy.
Inquire about the possible risks, after therapy; it’s crucial to ask about what risk you may incur in post-therapy; this helps you to prepare psychologically. Age, diagnosis, menopausal phase, and type of dosages administered and the history of previous therapies determine the chances.
Moreover, this will aid in ensuring ample funds for a contrived outcome. As simple as this may sound, it will save you lots of last-minute hassles, which further deteriorate your health.
Get ready for a follow-up; after treatment, a follow up is a prominent aspect. The doctor may demand another scan as the first step; the scan guides the progress. Secondly, depending on the evaluation, the clinic can range from 3-6 weeks. The doctor needs to assess if the treatment was successful, check for any side effects, and give guidance on how to manage them.
Start the primary treatment, the therapy, in most cases, is accompanied by other treatments which may coincide or administered after. You may get into surgery, undergo chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or targeted therapy. The outcome and diagnosis determine the procedure.
Radiation is sufficient if the cancer cells haven’t spread to the rest of the body. Also, most doctors will recommend taking chemotherapy separately from the radiotherapy to avoid the adverse effects the combination may have on your body.
Hormone therapy prevents any chance of re-occurrence. If the doctor advocates for it, then you are handled to an oncology team for the follow-up clinics and treatment.
Targeted therapy uses drugs to focus on some specific genes or environment which facilitates the growth or survival of a cancer cell.
Managing side effects, even though the ordeal is not physically painful, the side effects may be havoc; side effects are different for every patient. Below are some side-effects however not exclusively;
- Loss of appetite
- Mouth & throat sores
- Nausea & vomiting
- Loss of sex drive
- Hair loss
- Changes in the taste glands
- Skin breaks
Most side effects will disappear after the therapy; however, if they persist, your doctor can administer some drugs to ease the pain and discomfort. Some diets and practices may also help in controlling side effects, for example, a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Overcoming the hollow feeling, any cancer treatment plus long-term side effects, if not monitored, can lead to depression. The lack of confidence or sadness is a step to healing, and a patient should come up with positive routines like enrolling for psychology sessions, talking with friends, or signing up in support groups.
What to look out for, after having a successful treatment, there are some signs you need to look out for and inform your doctor to be safe.
- Stubborn prolonged side effects
- Persistent pains
- Persistent fever or coughs
- New swellings, bumps or lumps
- Any other concern you may have or changes
That aside, radiotherapy reduces re-occurrence, can treat cancer in its initial stages, and dealing with side effects is normal; it shouldn’t make you feel worried or sad. Finally, ensure you are punctual for your clinics and be on the lookout to report any doubtful changes.