Different Types of Radiotherapy

Different Types of Radiotherapy

In this piece of content, You can get detailed information about the different types of Radiotherapy depending on the type of cancer.

Radiation therapy can be administered to a patient by two main methods: External radiation and internal radiation.

More than one method can be used on a single patient, depending on the type of cancer.

Different Types of Radiotherapy

External radiation

A machine focuses on high-energy beams of radiation to the cancerous tumor. The size, shape, and direction of the rays are coordinated by a computer equipped with special software, thus virtually reducing the damage to nearby healthy tissue. This treatment is spread over several weeks and is given during outpatient visits.

Internal radiation

A tiny implant, which is a source of radiation in the form of a wire, pellet, balloon, or seed, is placed near the tumor. This type of radiotherapy is called brachytherapy.

The movement necessary for the implant to work is very little, so there is minimal effect on normal tissue. Implants can be placed in the body for a certain time (which can range from a few minutes to a few days) or may be permanent. For temporary applications, implants are delivered through needles, catheters, or other equipment.

Sometimes, after surgical removal of a tumor, an implant is put into the site to destroy any remaining cancer cells. While receiving internal radiation, the patient may need to stay at the hospital for the duration of the treatment.

Systemic radiation (radioisotope therapy) is a type of internal radiation. Some types of cancer are treated using radioactive drugs called radiopharmaceuticals. These drugs are applied intravenously or by mouth and eventually spread throughout the body. A patient receiving this treatment might need to stay in the hospital for a while.

Another treatment option is intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), which is the application of external and internal radiation therapy during surgery. The advantage here is that the surgeon can take normal tissue out of the area of radiation. This is especially important if the tumor is very close to vital organs.