Types of Radiation Therapy: How Do They Work?

Nowadays, most methods of treating cancer are by using radiation therapy because it can enhance the effectiveness of the surgery and prevent the spread of cancer, or even ease the pain from advanced cancer. Let’s dive into the article and learn more about this therapy.

Types of Radiation Therapy: How Do They Work?
Types of Radiation Therapy: How Do They Work?

What Is Radiation Therapy?

Radiation Therapy is used to deal with various treatment types that involve the use of radiation to destroy or shrink cancer cells and tumors. More specifically, this therapy mainly uses high energy beams throughout the procedure. It is also worth noting that radiation therapy has been used on more than half of people with cancer, according to American Cancer Society (ACS). What’s more, radiation therapist is one of the few blooming medical careers that don’t deal with blood.

Types of Radiation Therapy

External beam radiation

Also called teletherapy, this is probably the most commonly used type of radiation treatment for patients with cancer. External radiation therapy uses 3 types of particles, which are photons, protons, and electrons. The photon beam is the most common type out of the three as it can travel deep in the body and reach the tumor easier.

External beam radiation
External beam radiation

Internal Radiation Therapy

This is the second main type of radiation therapy, which is also called brachytherapy. The process of this treatment involves the doctor placing a radiation implant  in or near the cancer site. This implant can have different shapes, such as tube, wire, capsule, seeds, pellets.

Systemic Radiation Therapy

This is actually just another kind of internal radiation therapy. The only difference is it requires the patient to swallow the radioactive substance, just like the radiation implant, it will travel through the patient’s body, thus finding and killing the cancer cells within. 

In addition, some patients may receive an injection of the radioactive substance into their veins to make it easier for the substance to find and destroy the cancer cells.

How it works

Systemic Radiation Therapy
Systemic Radiation Therapy

Just like brachytherapy, external beam radiation is a local therapy that cures one part of the body. For example, if you have cancer in your lung, only your chest will get the radiation beam, not your whole body. This therapy would require high energy beams directing at cancer cells, thus destroying them in the process. The reason why the therapy is so effective is that it uses radiation as energy beams, which are quite powerful enough to destroy these cells. It should also be noted that brachytherapy and radiation therapy differ from each other in the source of the radiation. In brachytherapy, the implant that a doctor places near or in a tumor is where the radiation comes from. While in external beam radiation, the machine outside the body is what creates the radiation. If you are looking for a radiation therapist job, there are plenty of places that are hiring because of its high demand, so don’t be afraid.

Conclusion

Radiation therapy is a highly effective treatment for patients with cancer as it can help find and destroy the tumor inside the patient’s body, even deep within.