Unlike chemotherapy, a systemic treatment that travels throughout the body through the blood stream, radiation treatment is a localized treatment which is directed toward a certain site. For that reason, patients experience side effects associated with the area of the body being given the radiation treatment.
Radiation Therapy for Tongue Cancer: Side Effects
A lot of patients do not experience nausea or vomiting unless the stomach is really consisted of in the treated area (in this case, there are medications readily available to decrease discomfort) and loss of scalp hair does not happen unless the patient’s head is being dealt with. Male oral/tongue cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy may experience permanent hair loss in the area of their beard. Many patients do experience some degree of tiredness during radiation treatment.
In the majority of circumstances side effects begin to happen sometime between the second and 3rd week of treatment. Be sure to inform your doctor or nurse when side effects happen so that they may monitor them, and supply the suitable interventions to keep you as comfy as possible. The type and seriousness of side effects differ from patient to patient, and sometimes patients find that the impacts are a little more pronounced toward the end of the treatment week. During the days when the patient is not being radiated, symptoms typically solve to some degree so that most patients feel more comfy by the start of the next treatment week. Nevertheless, not all symptoms of the radiation treatments fall under this classification. Mucositis, lack of salivary function, and skin irritation will all get progressively worse as treatment continues. After treatment is finished, the body will begin to heal this damage, and with the possible exception of salivary function, things will return to typical.
Side effects from radiation are typically brought on by irritation of typical tissue in the treatment area. While cancer cells are particularly sensitive to radiation and are irreparably damaged by it, typical tissue cells have the ability to fix themselves after being exposed to radiation. For that reason, most of the side effects caused by radiation therapy willpower in time after conclusion of treatment. Your radiation oncologist will talk about any side effects that have the prospective to become long-term after the treatments are completed.
Typical Concerns about Radiation Therapy for Tongue Cancer
Isthere any possibility I could get too much radiation?
You will get a safe quantity of radiation to the suitable site with little risk of overdose. The amount of radiation each patient gets is figured out by the radiation oncologist and is delivered under the doctor’s supervision with the assistance of a medical physicist and a dosimetrist (a person with unique education in preparing radiation treatment treatments). The prescribed dose of radiation is thoroughly set into the radiation treatment device (linear accelerator) prior to each patient’s treatment. In addition, each radiation therapy center has quality assurance programs in place to inspect and double check each patient’s treatment strategy, and to keep track of the actual delivery of the radiation.
A friend informed me they knew someone who got burned when they had radiation treatments.
Fortunately, with today’s technology, we see fewer cases of damage to typical body tissue such as the skin, especially when the tumor being dealt with lies deep within the body. Treatment preparation and delivery methods enable the optimum dosage of radiation to be given to the growth itself, while providing the skin surface a minimal amount of radiation. However, with oral cancers the treated area is close to the skin surface (such as neck tumors or lymph nodes) and a skin reaction is most likely to occur. These responses are closely monitored and action is required to reduce patient discomfort. Skin responses fix after treatments are finished.
I’m concerned about being left alone during the radiation treatment … what if I need assistance?
For the majority of the 10 to 15 minutes you invest in the radiation treatment space every day, the radiation specialists will be with you making certain that everything is established properly for your treatment. They will step out of the room only when the radiation is being given (typically less than 2 or 3 minutes at a time). During this time you will be constantly observed by the therapists on both audio and video screens. If for any reason you require help, the specialists can immediately discontinue the treatment and be at your side really rapidly.
Will I he able to drive myself to and from my treatments?
The majority of patients who have the ability to drive prior to beginning radiation treatments will be able to continue to do so throughout treatments. Your radiation oncologist will warn you if there might be an issue with you driving yourself to and from treatments. It’s a good idea to have a backup strategy just in case you don’t feel up to driving.
Although often times new patients and their families feel rather concerned about radiation treatment, they are generally reassured at how “simple” radiation treatment really is.
If a tumor of the tongue has been surgically removed with good margins, will radiation treatment to that area be necessary?