Radiation Therapy – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Nuclear Energy Glossary Terms

I. What is Radiation Therapy?

Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, is a common treatment for cancer that uses high-energy radiation to target and destroy cancer cells. It is often used in conjunction with other cancer treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy can be delivered externally using a machine that directs radiation beams at the tumor, or internally by placing radioactive materials directly into or near the tumor.

II. How Does Radiation Therapy Work?

Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA of cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and growing. The goal of radiation therapy is to kill as many cancer cells as possible while minimizing damage to healthy cells. Radiation therapy is typically given in multiple sessions over a period of weeks to allow healthy cells to recover between treatments.

III. What are the Different Types of Radiation Therapy?

There are two main types of radiation therapy: external beam radiation therapy and internal radiation therapy. External beam radiation therapy uses a machine to deliver radiation from outside the body, while internal radiation therapy involves placing radioactive materials directly into or near the tumor. Other types of radiation therapy include brachytherapy, proton therapy, and stereotactic radiosurgery.

IV. What are the Side Effects of Radiation Therapy?

While radiation therapy is an effective treatment for cancer, it can also cause side effects. Common side effects of radiation therapy include fatigue, skin changes, hair loss, nausea, and diarrhea. These side effects are usually temporary and can be managed with medications and lifestyle changes. In some cases, radiation therapy can cause long-term side effects such as infertility and an increased risk of developing other cancers.

V. What is the Role of Radiation Therapy in Cancer Treatment?

Radiation therapy plays a crucial role in the treatment of cancer. It can be used as a primary treatment to shrink tumors before surgery, as a adjuvant treatment to kill any remaining cancer cells after surgery, or as a palliative treatment to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life in patients with advanced cancer. Radiation therapy is often used in combination with other cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients.

VI. How is Radiation Therapy Used in Nuclear Energy?

In addition to its role in cancer treatment, radiation therapy is also used in nuclear energy. Radiation therapy is used to sterilize medical equipment, preserve food, and treat wastewater. In nuclear power plants, radiation therapy is used to detect leaks, monitor equipment, and ensure the safety of workers. While radiation therapy has many beneficial applications in nuclear energy, it is important to handle radioactive materials with care to minimize the risk of exposure and contamination.