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The radiation therapy treatment or process is usually customised based on the severity of cancer and the consulting oncologist’s recommendations. However, you can learn more here. The process involves a few basic steps giving the patient an idea of what they can expect during the therapy. Constant research in the field of radiation therapy helps doctors fight cancer effectively.
Radiation therapy treatment starts with the consultation process. The patient seeks an oncologist appointment, who will go through the patients’ medical records, including radiology images, pathology reports, and biopsy reports, followed by a physical examination. Based on the doctor’s review and examination, they may recommend the patient to the next step.
Defining the Area of Treatment
Following the consultation process, the oncologist will identify the affected area’s precise location before treating cancer or tumour. The oncologist will recommend a series of x-rays, CT scans, etc., which will be taken at the radiation department of the clinic or hospital. If the affected area is not visible, the doctor may use a contrasting agent (administered orally or injected) to view the affected area better.
Once the doctor identifies the site, it is usually marked with a dot like a tattoo to direct the radiation waves to the exact spot.
The Treatment Plan
The treatment plan is prepared in collaboration with the oncologist, dosimetrist, and physicist. Based on the CT scan or MRI images, the team works on a radiation therapy treatment plan for treating the cancer symptoms. You can learn more about radiation therapy treatment plans from doctors online.
Care is taken to deliver the correct dose of radiation (sometimes very high) only to the affected area, avoiding the surrounding normal cells. This precaution is to restrict the side effects to the minimum level possible. It could take several days to make a suitable treatment plan, which would vary from patient to patient, per the severity of the case. The doctors often use computers and advanced software to recreate virtual anatomy to identify the affected spot precisely.
Radiation Therapy Treatment
While the oncologist recommends the dosage of radiation required to treat a specific case, it is the radiation therapists’ responsibility to deliver the treatment by ensuring the patient is positioned to receive the radiation waves. Images are recorded during treatment for further reference.
The images are the only proof that the radiation therapy treatment was delivered to the correct spot. Each session may last between 15 to 20 minutes, though the total number of sessions required will depend on the patient and cancer severity. Patients are advised on the dos and don’ts by the doctors and nurses in the team, including skincare and a wholesome diet.
Post Radiation Therapy Follow-up
The radiation therapy’s final stage involves the post-treatment follow-up, where the recovery is monitored and drugs prescribed accordingly. If required, your doctor may recommend additional tests. Also, the patient is advised to attend counselling sessions to help them cope with the situation.
Once the required dose of radiation therapy is completed, the number of visits to the clinic will decrease before finally stopping.
Summing it Up
Depending on the severity of the cancer , the radiologist may extend the duration of the radiation therapy. Patients must approach specialists when in doubt, who will recommend radiation therapy if required.
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