Why am I so tired? Radiation Therapy is used to treat breast cancer. It uses high-powered beams to target the cancerous cells. According to the Mayo Clinic and other cancer hospital and clinics, radiation therapy damages cells by destroying the genetic material that controls how cells grow and divide. While both healthy and cancerous cells are damaged by radiation therapy, the goal of radiation therapy is to destroy as few normal healthy cells as possible. Normal cells can often repair much of the damage caused by radiation.
Chemotherapy vs Radiation
Chemotherapy destroys normal and cancerous cells throughout the body, having a multitude of side effects. Radiation is a precise, targeted therapy used to destroy only the cancerous mass in your body. This approach yields fewer side effects. Depending on your cancer type, both chemo and radiation therapies are used.
In my experience, radiation was a breeze compared to chemotherapy. There some side effects. But not as extreme as chemo. Those include early and late side effects.
Early side effects happen during or shortly after treatment. These side effects are likely to be short-term, mild, and treatable. They’re usually gone within a few weeks after treatment ends.
- Fatigue (feeling tired)
- Skin changes
- Effects to the area being treated
- Hair loss
- Mouth problems
Late side effects can take months or even years to progress into a side effect. They can occur in any normal tissue in the body that has received radiation. This depends on the area treated in addition to the radiation dose that was used. Talk to your radiation oncologist about the risk of long-term side effects.
Radiation therapy leads to cancer cure in many patients with or without other treatments. It also reduces symptoms and prolongs survival in more advanced cancers.
According to TargetingCancer.com, “Radiation therapy contributes to 40% of all cancer cures world-wide as well as improving the quality of life for many others. Cancers that are too advanced to be cured, radiation therapy is very effective for pain and other problems caused by cancer, such as bleeding from the lung or bladder. For example, pain in the bones from the spread of cancer can be improved significantly or be completely removed in around 75% of patients.”
Many studies predict that radiation therapy will be used to treat cancer patients in the near future. According to Cancerquest.org, several cancers are highly curable if treated before metastasis.
- skin and lip
- head and neck
- cervical and endometrium
- Hodgkin’s disease and local extranidal lymphoma
- seminoma of testis and dysgerminoma of ovary
- medulloblastoma, pineal germinoma, and ependymoma
- choroidal melanoma
This is great news!