Radiation Therapy Care
Radiation Therapy Details
Alternate Names for Radiation Therapy:
You may need local anesthesia, which will numb a small area, or general anesthesia , which keeps you asleep during the procedure.Description of the Procedure
The radiation source will be placed inside your body on or near the affected area. This provides higher doses of radiation in a shorter time. The radioactive sources (such as cesium, iridium, palladium, or iodine) are in the form of wires, seeds, or rods. This treatment is mostly used for cancers of the head and neck, breast , uterus , thyroid , cervix , and prostate . The two main types of internal radiation are:
- Interstitial radiation-Rods, ribbons, or wires placed inside the affected tissue on a short-term or permanent basis
- Intracavitary radiation-A container of radioactive material placed inside a body cavity, such as the uterus, vagina, or windpipe (This is always temporary.)
This depends on the type of cancer treated and the method of internal radiation used.Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. You may be sore when recovering from the procedure depending on where the radioactive material was placed.Average Hospital Stay
You will stay in the hospital until the implant is removed, or in the case of a permanent implant, when the radioactivity has decreased. Doctors usually remove high-dosage implants within a matter of minutes. Low-dosage implants may stay in for a few days. Permanent implants lose their radioactivity within a few days.Post-procedure Care
Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions .
You will return to a hospital room while the implant is in place. While the radiation is implanted, you will follow these precautions to prevent transmitting radiation to others:
- Limited visitation: Many hospitals do not allow children under 18 years old or pregnant women to visit a patient having implant radiation. They may visit once the implant is removed. If visitors are allowed, they will need to sit at least six feet from the bed. Visits will be limited to a short time (10-30 minutes). Staff may place a shield beside the bed to protect visitors and staff from radiation exposure.
- Limited contact with the staff: The staff will be available to you at all times. They may speak to you from the doorway. They may also come and go very quickly to avoid excessive radiation exposure.
During treatment, your doctor will want to see you at least once a week. You may have routine blood tests to check for the effects of radiation on your blood cells.
After treatment is completed, you will have regular visits to monitor healing and to make sure the treatment affected the disease as planned. Follow-up care will vary for each person. Care may include further testing, medicine, or rehabilitative treatment.
Tell your doctor if you experience side effects. Many side effects can be controlled with medicine or diet. Your doctor may change or delay the course of your treatment if the side effects are too much. Most side effects will gradually go away after treatment.
Learn what the procedure is. Find out how it is performed.
Find out why and when this procedure should be done.
Learn about possible complications and what might increase the risk of them.
What to Expect
Find out how long it will take, what they will be doing and what to expect afterwards.
What are the next steps and other possible tests needed after you have received the results.
Call Your Doctor
What to look out for and when to call your doctor after a procedure has been done.