Radiation Therapy: Overview

Modified on 2009/10/14 21:36 by admin
Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, x-ray therapy, or irradiation, is the treatment of diseases using penetrating beams of high-energy waves or streams of particles called radiation. This same technology is used to "see" inside the body by taking x-rays. At high doses (many times those used for x-rays) radiation is used to treat cancer and other illnesses.

The goal of radiation therapy is to kill cancer cells with as little risk as possible to normal cells. Radiation therapy is used to treat many kinds of cancer in almost any part of the body. In fact, more than half of all people with cancer are treated with some form of radiation. For many cancer patients, radiation is the only kind of treatment they need.

Because cancer cells grow and divide more rapidly than most of the normal cells around them, radiation therapy can successfully treat many kinds of cancer. Normal cells are also affected by radiation but, unlike cancer cells, most of them recover from the effects of radiation.

Doctors protect normal cells by limiting the doses of radiation and spreading the treatment out over time. They also shield as much normal tissue as possible while they aim the radiation at the site of the cancer. Overexposure to radiation can be very serious, even deadly. Recently, twenty-eight patients at the Panama National Institute of Oncology were overexposed during radiation therapy treatments. Reports indicate that since the overexposure, nine of the patients have died. Five of those deaths are attributed to the overexposure. Doctors expect many of the remaining patients to develop serious complications.

See a doctor if you have experienced serious health problems after undergoing radiation therapy. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.

See Also

  1. Medical Procedures: Overview
  2. Burns: Overview
  3. Cancer
  4. Pericarditis: Overview
  5. Pulmonary Fibrosis: Overview
  6. Radiation Pneumonitis: Overview
  7. Skin Disorders: Overview
  Name Size