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Difference Between Radiation and Chemotherapy

Radiation vs Chemotherapy

Cancer is a hard disease to treat; in fact, many people have died because of it. It is a disease that is caused by a person’s lifestyle rather than their heredity. Tobacco smoking, improper diet, infections, radiation, and pollution are major causes of cancer.

My father was one of its victims. It has been more than thirty years since he succumbed to leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Although it is treatable today, thirty years ago, research on its treatment and medications was still in its infancy.

Today there are a lot of medications and treatments available for cancer patients. The most commonly used are radiation and chemotherapy. I don’t think my father had any of these treatments, although I believe they have been available then. I was too young to remember. Or maybe my father’s cancer was already in its last stages when he was diagnosed.

Cancer patients today have more hope of recovery and respite from the pains and aches of cancer. Some can even live full lives through the help of treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.

Radiation therapy or radiation oncology is a cancer treatment that uses ionizing radiation to control cancer cells. It is used to prepare patients for bone marrow transplant and for relief and therapeutic treatment of most types of cancer. It can be combined with chemotherapy, surgery, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy.

It is best for cancerous tumors and the treatment depends on the type, location, stage and the overall health of the patient. Leukemia, lymphomas, and germ cell tumors respond well to radiation. To minimize exposure of healthy cells to the radiation, a radiation source is placed next to the cancerous area, especially in the breasts, prostate, and other organs. Specially shaped radiation beams are also used to give larger doses of radiation to affected areas than in the surrounding areas.

For large tumors neoadjuvatant chemotherapy is also administered before radiation to shrink it or the patient undergoes surgery first. It is also possible to enhance the sensitivity of the cancer to radiation through the use of drugs during radiotherapy.

Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment through the use of chemicals. It kills cancerous cells through the use of antoneoplastic drugs. Most cancer cells divide rapidly and chemotherapy kills these cells but will also kill healthy cells in the bone marrow, digestive tracts, and hair follicles resulting in side effects like hair loss, inflammation of the digestive tract and a decrease in the production of blood cells.

It was first discovered during WWII when some people were exposed to mustard gas and had low white blood cell counts after. A drug was then developed and administered to lymphoma patients who showed significant improvements. This paved the way in the development of other chemotherapy drugs to treat other types of cancer.

Summary
1. Radiation treats cancer with radiation rays, while chemotherapy treats cancer with drugs.
2. Radiation treatment is given outside of the body, while chemotherapy uses drugs that have to be taken through injections into the veins or arteries, by mouth, or rubbed on the skin.
3. Radiation therapy is usually done in the hospital, while chemotherapy drugs can be taken at home, the doctor’s office, or the hospital.


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1 Comment

  1. Many of the facts in this article are blatantly misleading is not down right false.
    1.) Cancer is not solely based upon lifestyle, heredity plays a role as well.
    2.) Radiation is not administered 100% outside the body, there are forms that are administered directly during surgical intervention, such as special Gamma Knife procedures, Brachytherapy – the placement of radioactive pellets being implanted in the body; such as for prostrate cancer.
    3.) Chemotherapy is not normally administered in the patients home, unless specialized medical professionals, with the proper equipment are present at all times.
    Please get your facts straight before posting something as useless and misleading regarding Chemotherapy and radiation therapy on your site.

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