It is natural that any person about to undergo treatment for cancer may be fearful about its results and impacts. Recent advances in technology have revolutionized the field of Radiation Oncology, radically decreasing the incidence of adverse events and improving treatment outcomes. Despite this, certain misconceptions persist regarding the effectiveness and complications of Radiation Oncology.
Here we have addressed some common myths regarding Radiation Oncology:
Myth 1- Radiation therapy is painful
Radiation therapy doesn't cause any pain, in fact, in most cases, there is no contact between patient and radiation instrument. Undergoing radiation is the equivalent of getting an X-ray done. Some patients may report dryness, itching or soreness in the treated area. In patients with advanced, painful tumours, radiation treatment shrinks the tumour and helps to relieve pain caused by it.
Myth 2- Radiation therapy may cause cancer recurrence
Cancer recurrence depends on the stage of the tumour at the time of starting treatment, residual tumour after surgery, the sensitivity of tumour to chemotherapy and radiation etc. Radiation per se is not known to cause cancer recurrence. In fact, the purpose of giving radiation to patients after surgery is to reduce the incidence of recurrence by killing any residual tumour cells in the tumour bed.
Myth 3- Radiation therapy causes hair loss
Radiation therapy causes hair loss in the treated area alone. Scalp hair loss is a common side-effect of chemotherapy, not radiation therapy.
Myth 4- Radiation therapy can cause nausea or vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are likely to occur only if the area being treated is abdomen. It is unlikely to be seen in patients with tumours elsewhere. Nausea and vomiting can be managed effectively with supportive drugs.
Myth 5- Radiation therapy can cause skin burns
Radiation therapy doesn't cause skin burns, but patients can have temporary side effects like redness, peeling of skin and darkening in the treated body parts. These temporary discomforts resolve gradually after the completion of the treatment. The severity of these side-effects varies from person to person.
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