Radiotherapy, otherwise called as radiation therapy, X-ray radiation or irradiation is the medical use of ionizing radiation to control/destroy malignant cells and shrink tumors. Radiation damages the genetic material present in the rapidly dividing cells and thereby making it impossible for the cell to continue the process of cell division. Hence it is harmful for the cancer cells and also the rapidly dividing healthy cells like skin and hair.
But the normal cells recover from the damages of radiation and function properly. Radiotherapy is mainly used to treat cancer patients. Some of the commonly used radioactive substances are Caesium-137, Cobalt-60, Iodine-131 and Phosphorous-32. Radiotherapy is used to:
Cure many different types of primary cancer. (Curative therapy)
Control the cancer from spreading to different parts of the body.
Relieve symptoms such as pain as it makes life more comfortable in case of advanced stages of cancer. (Palliative therapy)
Assist the main treatment by reducing the size of the cancer and making the treatment more effective or to prevent the recurrence of cancer. (Adjuvant therapy)
- About Cancer - (http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/help/ default.asp?page=166)
- WHAT IS RADIOTHERAPY? - (http://www.cancernet.co.uk/rxt-what.htm)