Cancun Oncology Center at Hospital GaleniaCancun Oncology Center at Hospital Galenia

RADIOTHERAPY

WHAT IS RADIOTHERAPY?

Radiotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses particles or high-energy waves, such as X-rays, gamma rays, electron beams or proton to eliminate or damage cancer cells.

WHAT IS THE GOAL OF RADIOTHERAPY?

The goal of radiation treatment is to attack as many cancer cells as possible, with as little damage as possible to healthy tissue located around the tumor. Radiation is part of the main treatment for certain cancers, such as breast, prostate, head and neck, bladder, lung and Hodgkin’s disease.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

It is a process that acts on the tumor, gradually destroying malignant cells, and thus, preventing the tumor to grow and invade other tissues. Healthy tissues around the tumor similarly receive low doses of radiation, but these tissues can repair damage from radiation efficiently.

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WHEN IS RADIATION APPROPRIATE?

It may be administered as the sole treatment or before or after surgery or in combination with chemotherapy. Unlike chemotherapy, radiation therapy only affects the part of the body treated.

WHO APPLIES RADIATION THERAPY?

At Cancun Oncology Center, our professionals work as a multidisciplinary team, consisting of radiation oncologists, medical physicists, radiation therapists and specifically-trained nurses and technicians. They are qualified, trained and certified, with extensive experience, to cater to your illness. Furthermore, they are supported by our team of highly recognized international advisors.

HOW DOES YOUR DOCTOR PLAN THE RADIATION?

After a physical examination and a review of your medical history and test results, the doctor will locate the exact area to be treated. This is done a few days before radiotherapy in a process called simulation. You will be asked to lie down and stay still on a table while the radiation therapist uses a computerized tomography to determine the treatment field. According to information received from the simulation, and other evidence of clinical diagnosis, the doctor will decide how much radiation is needed, how radiation will be applied, and how many treatment sessions should be performed.

HOW LONG DOES THE RADIATION THERAPY SESSION LAST?

The treatment itself takes only a few minutes, but each session can last from 15 to 30 minutes due to the time it takes to prepare the team and to place you in the correct position.

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF RADIATION?

It depends on the body site where you are receiving treatment. Radiotherapy staff will inform you and indicate the necessary care. Side effects vary from person to person and depend on the radiation dose and the body receiving treatment. Some patients have no side effects at all, while others have a considerable amount. There is no way to predict who will and who will not have side effects.

WILL MY BODY EMIT RADIATION DURING OR AFTER EXTERNAL RADIATION?

External radiation therapy affects a group of cells in your body only for a moment. Because there is no source of radiation in your body, you will not emit radiation at any time during or after treatment.

IF MY CANCER COMES BACK, IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ME TO RECEIVE RADIOTHERAPY AGAIN?

There are limits on the amount of radiation that a person can receive in his entire life. The doctors are informed about the amount of radiation to healthy parts that the body can receive without danger of causing irreversible damage. They use this information to help them decide how much radiation should be administered and where this radiation should be applied during treatment. If any part of your body has had radiation before, it may not be possible to return to receive radiation in that part a second time. This depends on how much radiation was received the previous time. If a part of your body has already received the maximum amount of radiation allowed, it might still be possible for you to receive radiation therapy to another part of the body, if the distance between the two parts is large enough.

POST-RADIATION CARE

For some time after receiving treatment, you should continue to take special care , you may even need to change some of your routines permanently, not because there is a risk to the treatment’s results, but because it is the most convenient for your overall health.

SKIN CARE

If your skin was affected by radiation treatment follow these recommendations:

  • It will improve on its own within a few days.
  • It is very important to keep it clean.
  • Try to keep it hydrated.
  • Use mild soaps and neutral (baby) soaps.
  • Always use sunscreen with a UV filter over 50.
  • Do not scratch your skin or use any balms or creams that aren’t recommended by your doctor.

DIET

It is important that you continue with the diet you were given after your treatment is finished for a full month. This is the approximate time your body will take to return to normal, when the inflammation will subside and the intestinal flora will recover. Focus on eating foods that help restore intestinal flora.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

It is very important to reintegrate into daily life, but do it without haste. A few days after treatment you will regain energy and mobility.

BACK TO EVERYDAY LIFE

If you feel ready to return to your daily activities (including work), remember that this too should be taken calmly. Make a list of the things you need to do in order of importance. Try to do important activities first, when you have more energy. Ask for the help of your loved ones and friends. Do not try to "regain ground" in the first week, being too demanding can cause a relapse in mood or tiredness.