Radiation Therapy
Friday, April 17, 2009

Radiation therapy is one of several treatments used to treat cancer by itself or in combination with other forms of treatment. Dr. Edward Hill discusses radiation therapy in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

Radiation therapy treats cancer by killing cancer cells. It can shrink cancer tumors and stop them from growing or spreading. It can also treat symptoms of cancer, such as pain or bleeding.

Radiation therapy may be given alone or with other treatments, like chemotherapy or surgery. It can be external or internal and can be given as a one-time treatment or in smaller doses given during several treatment sessions.

Side effects to radiation therapy can include fatigue and changes to the skin. Other side effects depend on where your cancer is located. If your cancer is in your mouth or neck, you may have dryness of mouth or pain in your throat. If your cancer is in your stomach or abdomen, you may have temporary nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. If your cancer is in your brain, you may have hair loss.

Most side effects go away within two months of finishing treatment. But some effects may not appear until months after treatment. These late side effects may include breathing problems, infertility and joint problems.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.