Radiation therapy or radiotherapy uses high energy photons to destroy the cancerous cells. Each radiotherapy plan Is unique to the individual patient and personalised for each patient to deliver as much radiation dose to the tumour and as low as possible dose to the surrounding healthy tissues.
Our Cancer Centre is equipped with Accuray Tomo Therapy system. TomoTherapy integrates computerized tomography (CT) imaging with radiation therapy to deliver radiation treatment with speed and precision while reducing radiation exposure to surrounding healthy organs.
· Image-Guided Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IG-IMRT)
IG-IMRT is the use of three-dimensional (3D) imaging guidance to improve the precision and accuracy of treatment delivery. IMRT is a safe and painless radiation technique that delivers highly precise radiation dose to the cancer effectively while limiting the damage to the healthy tissues nearby. This increases the chance for a cure and lessens likelihood of side effects. IG-IMRT is used to treat a wide range of cancers such as the cancers of the head and neck, breast, lung, cervix, endometrium, prostate, rectum and other sites.
· Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)
SRS is a non-invasive procedure that delivers precise and very high dose of radiation in treating functional and non-functional abnormalities or small tumours of the brain.
· Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)
SBRT is a specialized radiation therapy that delivers extremely precise and high radiation dose to small tumors in the lung, abdomen or spine.
Radiotherapy Treatment Planning Process
1. CT Stimulation.
2. Tumor & Target Delineation.
3. Computed Treatment Planning.
4. Treatment Plan Quality Assurance (QA).
5. Radiotherapy Treatment.
What Can I Do to Take Care of Myself During Radiation Therapy
During radiation therapy, you need to take good care of yourself. Your cancer care team will give you tips on how to do this but here are some things that you should do:
· Get a lot of rest. You may feel more tired than normal. This can last several weeks or months after your treatment ends. Sometimes the fatigue can last longer.
· Eat healthy foods. Your cancer care team can work with you to make sure you’re eating the right foods to get what your body needs. They may have tips to help with side effects if your stomach or throat is in the area being treated.
· Take care of the skin in the treatment area. Clean the skin each day with warm water and a mild soap that your team says is OK to use. Don’t use anything else on the treated skin unless your cancer care team tells you it’s OK.
· Tell your cancer care team about all medicines you are taking. If you take any medicines, even aspirin, herbs, or vitamins, let your team know before you start radiation.
Good nutrition during cancer treatment can help patients to:
· Feel better.
· Keep up their strength and energy.
· Maintain weight and the body’s store of nutrients.
· Better tolerate treatment-related potential side effects.
· Lower the risk of infection.
· Heal and recover faster.
Chemotherapy uses pharmaceutical drugs to treat cancer patients. It is a systemic therapy which is able to damage the cancer cells at almost any anatomic location in the patient’s body.
Chemotherapy drugs damage cells as they divide. This makes the drugs effective against cancer cells, which divide much more rapidly than most normal cells do.
Chemotherapy is most often given via a vein (intravenously). It is sometimes given in other ways, such as orally in tablets forms.
Chemotherapy is commonly given in courses (cycles), with rest periods in between. This allows normal cells to recover and your body to regain its strength. If your body needs more time to recover, your next cycle may be delayed. Your doctor will discuss your treatment plan with you.
Sometimes people have chemotherapy over 6-12 months, but it’s possible to have it for a shorter or longer period.
Maintenance treatment (to prevent the cancer coming back) and palliative treatment (to control the cancer or relieve symptoms) may last many months or years.
How do | prepare for chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy affects everyone differently, so it can be hard to know exactly how to prepare. However, a number of general issues are worth considering in advance.
· Look after yourself
Try to stay as healthy as you can before and during treatment. Eat a nourishing diet, drink lots of water, get enough sleep, balance rest and physical activity. Good nutrition and regular exercise can help with some side effects of chemotherapy.
· Freeze some meals
You may not feel like cooking during the weeks of your chemotherapy treatment. Consider making some meals ahead and freezing them. Sometimes, family and friends can arrange a meal roster.
· Arrange transport
Plan how you will get to chemo sessions. Since you won’t know how you will feel, it is best to arrange a driver for at least your first session.
· Sort out work
lf you are working, talk to your employer about what time you are likely to need off. It is hard to predict how chemotherapy will affect you, so you could discuss the option of flexible hours.
· Check your teeth
It is often a good idea to visit your dentist for a check-up before chemotherapy begins. The dentist can check for any current mouth infections that may cause issues If chemotherapy affects your immune system.
· Make sure your doctor knows
Make sure your doctor knows about any other medicines or therapies you are using. Some over-the- counter medicines, home remedies, herbs and vitamins can interfere with the chemotherapy.
· Organise help at home
lf you have young children, you may need to arrange for someone to look after them during the treatment sessions and possibly afterwards if you become unwell from side effects. Older children may need lifts to and from school and activities. Some support with housework and errands can also ease the load. Consider asking one friend or family member to coordinate offers of help.
· Pack a chemo bag
A bag for your chemo sessions could include: warm clothing layers in case you get cold; healthy snacks; lip balm; and something to pass the time, such as books, magazines, crossword puzzles, and a laptop computer or tablet.
· Prepare for side effects
Talk to your treatment team about the likely side effects of the chemotherapy drugs you are having. Ask whether you should take medicine to prevent nausea and vomiting. If you may lose your hair, think about whether you want to choose a wig, hats or scarves before treatment starts.
· Discuss your concerns
Keep a list of questions for your oncologist and add to it whenever a new question occurs to you. If you are feeling anxious about the diagnosis and treatment, try talking to a family member or friend, or to your GP or another member of your health care team.
· Ask about fertility
Some types of chemotherapy can affect your fertility. If you think you may want to have children in future, talk to your health care team about your options before chemotherapy.
3 Things to Do During Chemo
1. Stay Entertained
Download your favorite games, movies or shows to your tablet. This entertainment could help those repetitive treatments fly by.
2. Work with Your Hands
Consider picking up knitting or crocheting, as you can make notable progress (a nice contrast to the unknowns of cancer treatment) on projects you make for yourself or others.
Being present and practicing mindfulness have been proven to decrease stress levels in most adults and children. Use your chemo time as just the opportunity to meditate!
· Hormonal Therapy
Hormonal therapy slows or stops the growth of cancer that uses specific hormones to grow. It can be given in pills or injection or with surgery to remove the hormone producing organ. It is widely used to treat prostate cancers and breast cancers.
· Targeted Therapy
Targeted therapy inhibits the growth of cancer cells by interfering with specific genes, proteins or tissue environment that contribute to cancer growth and survival. Targeted therapy is usually used together with chemotherapy and other treatments.
Immunotherapy works by marking the cancer cells and therefore allowing the immune system to find and destroy them; or by boosting your immune system to better destroy the cancer cells.
Surgical oncology focuses on using surgery to diagnose, stage and treat cancer. Palliative surgeries may also be performed to help control pain, increase a patient’s comfort level and manage cancer-related symptoms and side effects