Cancer is a deadly disease that affects millions of people worldwide and can be controlled with early diagnosis and effective treatment methods. One of the methods used in cancer treatment is Radiotherapy, which is Radiation Oncology. This treatment method is a process in which high-energy radiation beams are used to prevent the growth and spread of cancerous cells. In this article we have written for you, we will examine what radiotherapy is, why it is applied, and its benefits.
- What Is Radiotherapy?
- Why Is Radiotherapy Applied?
- What Are The Benefits Of Radiotherapy?
- What are the Side Effects of Radiation Therapy (Radiotherapy)?
- How Is Radiotherapy Applied?
- What Are The Types Of Radiotherapy?
- How Long Does Radiotherapy Last?
- Does Radiotherapy Damage Organs?
- Radiotherapy Treatment Prices in Turkey
What Is Radiotherapy?
Radiotherapy is a method used in the treatment of cancer patients and is in the field of radiation oncology. Radiotherapy damages the DNA of cancerous cells by sending high-energy radiation beams into them, thereby stopping the cells from dividing and growing. This treatment helps tumors to shrink and cancerous cells to die. Radiotherapy can be administered by sending radiation from outside (external radiotherapy) or by placing radioactive material directly into the cancerous cells (brachytherapy).
Why Is Radiotherapy Applied?
Radiotherapy can be used for different purposes in cancer treatment. The main reasons are as follows;
- It can be used for curative purposes. Radiotherapy can be used as a treatment that aims to completely eliminate cancer. In this case, radiation beams target the tumor and surrounding cancerous cells.
- It can be used for adjuvant treatment. Radiotherapy can be used in addition to other cancer treatments such as surgery or chemotherapy. This improves the effectiveness of the treatment and reduces the risk of cancer recurrence.
- It can be used for palliative treatment. Radiotherapy can also be used as a treatment that does not aim to completely eliminate cancer but aims to improve the patient’s quality of life. In this case, radiation beams are used to relieve pain and control symptoms such as bleeding and obstruction.
What Are The Benefits Of Radiotherapy?
Radiotherapy has many benefits. These can be listed as follows;
- Targeting cancerous cells, it helps tumors shrink and cancerous cells die.
- When applied before surgery, it can help the surgeon to remove the tumor more easily and safely by reducing the size of the tumor.
- When administered after surgery, it reduces the risk of cancer recurrence by killing any remaining cancer cells.
- When used in combination with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, it increases the effectiveness of the treatment.
- When used as palliative treatment, it improves the patient’s quality of life, relieves pain and controls other symptoms.
Radiotherapy is an effective method that plays an important role in cancer treatment. By targeting cancerous cells, radiotherapy helps tumors shrink and cancerous cells die. It can also be used in combination with other cancer treatments to increase the effectiveness of treatment and improve the quality of life of patients.
What are the Side Effects of Radiation Therapy (Radiotherapy)?
Radiotherapy is a treatment method that uses high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells. This treatment works by stopping the growth of cancer cells or killing cancer cells. However, radiotherapy can also damage healthy cells, so various side effects can occur. The side effects of radiotherapy vary depending on the area treated, the dose of radiation, and the person’s general health. Some common side effects of radiotherapy can be briefly described as follows;
Radiotherapy may cause reactions such as redness, rash, itching and burning sensation on the skin in the treated area. Skin reactions usually occur during the treatment process and improve over time after the treatment is completed.
Fatigue is common during and after radiotherapy. This is due to the body’s response to radiation and the process of rebuilding energy resources.
Radiotherapy can damage cells in the stomach and intestines. This can lead to digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.
Radiotherapy can damage cells in the bone marrow, which leads to a decrease in the production of blood cells. This can lead to symptoms such as becoming more vulnerable to infections, bruising easily, and tiredness.
Radiotherapy can cause loss of appetite and change eating habits, which can result in weight loss.
Radiotherapy can cause sexual dysfunction and infertility when applied to the reproductive organs.
The above side effects are considered acute side effects of radiotherapy and resolve in a short time after treatment. However, in some cases, long-term side effects of radiotherapy may also occur. These side effects can be seen as permanent skin changes, permanent hormone imbalances, and, rarely, radiation-induced secondary cancers.
How Is Radiotherapy Applied?
Radiotherapy is administered by radiation oncologists and the treatment process includes the following steps;
Before radiotherapy, doctors take images of the patient’s tumor and surrounding healthy tissues. These images help to apply radiation in the right direction and dose.
Before treatment, patients undergo a process called simulation. In this process, the patient’s treatment position is determined and markings are made on the skin. These markings help direct the radiation to the correct area.
Radiotherapy is usually administered in sessions lasting several weeks, usually 5 days a week. During the treatment, patients lie in front of the radiation machine and are guided by radiation oncologists. The radiation is directed toward the site of the tumor and is carefully controlled to avoid damaging healthy tissues.
After radiotherapy is completed, patients need to have regular follow-up visits. During these visits, doctors assess the patient’s side effects and the effectiveness of the treatment.
What Are The Types Of Radiotherapy?
Radiotherapy is divided into types according to the method of application and the source of radiation. Briefly as follows;
External radiotherapy: In this type of radiotherapy, the radiation source is located outside the patient and the radiation is directed to the area where the tumor is located. External beam therapy includes techniques such as 3D conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT), intensive modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and proton therapy.
Internal radiotherapy (brachytherapy): In this type of radiotherapy, the radiation source is placed directly into or near the tumor. There are two types of internal beam therapy: low-dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy and high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy.
Systemic radiotherapy: In this type of radiotherapy, radioactive drugs are used and these drugs are taken intravenously or by mouth. Systemic radiotherapy includes techniques such as radioactive iodine therapy and radioactive antibody therapy.
Each type of radiotherapy is chosen depending on the type and stage of cancer and the patient’s general health. Radiotherapy can be given alone or in combination with other cancer treatments.
How Long Does Radiotherapy Last?
Radiotherapy is a common method used to treat cancer and other diseases. This treatment aims to stop the growth and proliferation of cancer cells by damaging the DNA of the cells. The duration of radiotherapy may vary depending on the patient’s condition, the area treated, the type of radiation used and other factors.
Radiotherapy is usually planned for 5 days a week and may last for several weeks. Each session lasts approximately 15-30 minutes, but this time may vary from patient to patient. Patients usually do not feel any pain or discomfort during the application of radiation.
The duration of radiotherapy is determined by the stage of the disease, the type of cancer and the general health of the patient. For example, the duration of radiotherapy may be shorter in early-stage cancers, while longer-term treatment may be required in advanced-stage cancers. Also, when radiotherapy is combined with other treatment methods, the duration of treatment may vary.
Doctors try to minimize damage to healthy cells by keeping the duration of radiotherapy as short as possible. Therefore, the duration and dose of radiotherapy should be carefully planned according to the patient’s condition and treatment goals.
Does Radiotherapy Damage Organs?
Although radiotherapy aims to target and treat cancer cells, it can sometimes damage healthy cells. This can lead to side effects of radiotherapy. However, the damage caused by radiotherapy to organs can be minimized thanks to the precautions taken during the treatment process and technological developments.
During radiotherapy, doctors and radiation oncologists use special techniques to ensure that the radiation is as focused as possible on the cancer cells. These techniques help to reduce the damage caused by radiotherapy to healthy tissues and organs.
The side effects of radiotherapy can vary depending on the area treated and the dose of radiation used. Some patients experience mild side effects during or after treatment, while others may experience more severe side effects. Side effects of radiotherapy may include;
- Redness, dryness, or itching of the skin,
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- The weakened immune system,
The damage caused by radiotherapy to organs usually heals over time after the treatment is completed. However, in some cases, permanent damage can also occur. For example, radiotherapy used to treat lung cancer can increase the risk of permanent fibrosis (hardening of the lung tissue).
Radiotherapy can damage organs, but this risk can be minimized thanks to precautions taken during the treatment process and technological advances. Patients should try to minimize side effects and potential risks by keeping in close contact with their doctors and radiation oncologists during radiotherapy.
Radiotherapy Treatment Prices in Turkey
Turkey has managed to announce its name to the world with its investments and studies in the field of health. Especially the latest technological devices used in diagnosis and treatment procedures have been a beacon of hope for many diseases. However, there has been an increase in health tourism in Türkiye.
- Hospitals are large, clean, spacious and fully equipped in terms of technological equipment.
- Turkish doctors are specialized, successful, and skilled in their fields.
- Nurses and carers are friendly and compassionate.
- Finding answers to the questions asked quickly and accurately.
- Patience and understanding of all staff, including the intermediary company dealing with the patient.
- Turkey offers holiday opportunities with its natural and historical beauties.
- Easy transportation.
- Diagnosis, treatment, accommodation, eating, drinking, dressing, and holiday needs can be met at affordable prices.
Such situations are shown among the reasons for preference. We can see that patients and their relatives who want to come to Turkey are doing research on Radiotherapy Treatment Prices in Turkey. However, it would not be right to give clear price information at this stage. Many factors such as the type of disease, stage, diagnosis process, treatment process, and stay in Türkiye affect the price issue. If you want to get more detailed price information, you can contact us. In addition, if you come to Turkey for treatment through us, we can facilitate your visa application process with the invitation letter sent by us to the consulate.
Prof.Dr. Ergün Dağlıoğlu (Eğitim Görevlisi), Beyin Cerrahı, Beyin Ve Sinir Cerrahisi
This post is also available in: Türkçe