What is Radiation Therapy?
Radiation therapy is one of the most common, innovative and successful forms of cancer treatments of the modern world. It can successfully treat and cure approximately 50 unique forms of cancer1, utilizing alpha, beta and gamma radiation to destroy or damage cancer cells2. This helps prevent the rapid multiplication of the destructive cells, with minimal impact upon the somatic cells surrounding the cancerous area, and treats both primary, and advanced forms of the disease. This treatment can reduce the size of the cancer, and can relieve pain, discomfort, and other symptoms. Radiation therapy can be performed independently on a patient, or in combination with surgery, chemotherapy, and other cancer …show more content…
The therapeutic and diagnostic potential of X-rays were recognized rather quickly; the first diagnostic X-ray image was taken within 2 months of Roentgen’s discovery. Fascinatingly, the therapeutic potential of X-ray beams was uncovered prior to the diagnostic element5. Emil Grubbe, a Chicago medical student, noticed the peeling of his hand after exposure to the radiation, and was granted the permission from his professor to irradiate a patient suffering from locally advanced breast cancer. In doing so, Grubbe became the first Radiation Oncologist in history. Radiation therapy was originally delivered in a few successive, high-dosage treatments. However French biologist and Radiation Oncologist Claudius Regaud proposed fractioned radiotherapy, a process still widely used in treatment programs today, after it was discovered that a singular high dose of the treatment did little to control the growth of tumorous cells and had serious side effects on the patient6. Limitations of the early machinery were soon realized, as Oncologists were unable to produce radiation beams of high enough energy to penetrate deep into tissue and treat deep-seated cancers …show more content…
The linear accelerator uses microwave technology to generate and accelerate electrons through what is called a ‘wave guide’. These are a series of negatively charged magnets that lead the electron beam into a series of metal plates, splitting the electron beam into x-ray photons (refer to fig. 2). The photon beam is then shaped by a multi-leaf collimator, incorporated in the head of the machine, to match the specifications of the tumor10 (refer to fig.3).
Role of Radiation Therapy in Treatment of Illness
The field of radiation therapy lies predominantly in the identification and safe treatment of cancers and tumors. The varying methods of treatment cover a broad spectrum of cancerous and benign tumors throughout the body. Brachytherapy is able to provide large doses of radiation to an area over a smaller time period, and lesser treatments. Intensity modulated EBRT is the most commonly practiced radiotherapy treatment method, and it can be used to treat the more delicate areas of the body. The following illnesses can be treated by radiation therapy.
Head and Neck Cancer
Head and Neck Cancer