Radiotherapy is a method of treating cancer and other diseases using radiation. The radiation used in radiotherapy is in the form of high-energy ionizing rays. In a radiation therapy, these rays will be directed to the location of the cancer aiming to destroy the cancerous tissue. This beam of radiation will hit cancer cells, causing the cells to lose their ability to reproduce, and damage the cancer cells so that the body can eliminate the cancer cells.
The radiation beam energy for radiotherapy reaches thousands of times higher than the energy of X-rays used in diagnostic radiological examinations. However, after the therapy is given, the patient will not become a radioactive source as the radiation beam will be given from the outside of the patient’s body by the external beam radiotherapy machine.
Who Needs Radiotherapy?
Millions of people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer each year and about two thirds of these cancer patients need radiotherapy as part of their cancer treatment. Cancer patients generally require radiotherapy as part of the therapeutic process to treat or relieve cancer symptoms. Radiotherapy can be given as the main therapy, before or after surgery or chemotherapy. In addition, radiotherapy can be given to patients with advanced cancer to relieve symptoms due to the tumor. Providing radiotherapy as a method of relieving cancer symptoms is known as palliative radiotherapy.
Why Is Radiotherapy Necessary?
Radiotherapy is one of the three main pillars of cancer therapy along with surgery and chemotherapy. Cancer therapy is generally given by combining two or more of these therapies to increase the success of therapy and reduce the risk of recurrence. Radiotherapy can destroy cancer tissue, reduce the risk of cancer recurrence after surgery or chemotherapy, or shrink cancer tissue before surgery to increase the success of the operation. For palliative radiotherapy, radiation is given to shrink tumors that interfere with quality of life and relieve symptoms caused by cancer such as pain, nervous disorders, or bleeding.
Radiotherapy Service Flow
The radiotherapy service flow consists of several stages. Initially, the Radiation Oncology Specialist will perform examinations to confirm a cancer diagnosis as a basis for radiotherapy and provide education about the radiotherapy process. After that, the patient will undergo a simulated CT.
At this stage, the patient will undergo a CT scan to take pictures of his body as a basis for making a radiation plan. In this process, the patient will also be positioned according to the location of the cancer and a special fixation device is installed to prevent excessive movement of the patient’s body so that the radiation can be given accurately.
In the next step, Radiation Oncologists and medical physicists will design a radiation plan on the computer by determining the radiation target, radiation dose, and radiation techniques which are appropriate for the cancer treatment. After the radiation plan is complete, the patient will undergo daily radiotherapy in the radiotherapy machine. The radiotherapy nurse and radiographer will assist the patient in undergoing his daily radiotherapy process.
The number of radiation procedures given depends on the type of cancer and the radiation technique used. The length of radiotherapy procedure per day depends on the radiation plan made, with an average of 15-20 minutes per beam. The radiation beam will also be painless when given.
Radiation Target Adjusted to the Type of Cancer
Radiation in radiotherapy will be targeted at certain areas on the patient’s body. The area of this radiation depends on the type and location of the cancer. In order to accurately determine the radiation target, patients generally need to undergo diagnostic imaging studies first. For cancer that biologically often spreads to the lymph nodes, such as cancer of the nasopharynx, breast, or cervix; The Radiation Oncologist will prescribe a broader radiation target to cover the entire area of the cancer spreading.
Radiotherapy Services at Primaya Hospital
Aiming to provide radiotherapy services, the hospital must meet strict requirements and regulations, especially in terms of equipment and safety. Radiotherapy services at Primaya Hospital take place in an action room specially designed for the safety of hospital employees and visitors. Primaya Hospital also routinely evaluates the quality of equipment and safety from radiation hazards in accordance with the laws and regulations of the Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency.
Radiotherapy Services at Primaya Hospital are served by a team consisting of Radiation Oncologists, medical physicists, radiographers, nurses, and other health professionals who are trained, experienced, professional, and competent. Primaya Hospital uses three dimensions mapping, computerization, and the most updated equipment in radiotherapy.
The radiotherapy technique at Primaya is able to precisely target cancerous tissue as well as minimizing the impact of radiation on other surrounding body tissues. Patients can safely undergo radiotherapy at Primaya Hospital based on a predetermined schedule.