Radiation therapy causes cancer
In individual cases, radiation therapy can also be carried out in the case of benign diseases. These include chronic inflammatory and degenerative diseases such as heel spurs, tennis elbow, shoulder pain or joint arthrosis. The goal of treatment is usually to reduce inflammation and pain.
The most important area of application is in cancer therapy Fight against tumors. Even if there is no longer any prospect of a cure for advanced cancers, radiation treatment can alleviate discomfort and extend survival. Especially with prostate cancer, the method also helps those patients who cannot be operated on because of concomitant diseases or old age.
Radiation for breast cancer
Radiation therapy is an important part of breast cancer treatment. It is especially recommended after breast-conserving surgery to prevent the Reduce the risk of relapse. If the breast has been removed, the patient can do without radiation. Radiation usually begins around four to six weeks after the operation, when the surgical wound has healed. If the operation is followed by chemotherapy, radiation begins three to four weeks after the drug treatment.
Irradiation of the chest is also useful when looking at yourself Skeletal metastases have formed in the chest area. The high-energy rays inhibit the growth of the malignant cells and thus stabilize the damaged bones. This will help prevent broken bones and relieve pain.
In breast cancer, the irradiation is usually carried out externally. The treatment usually takes place daily for several weeks. Depending on the situation, the entire breast or only parts of it is irradiated; in some cases, lymph nodes on the collarbone or in the armpit.
Radiation for prostate cancer
Radiation therapy for prostate cancer offers the chance to heal the tumor - provided the disease has not yet metastasized. At a local tumor the irradiation can take place both from the inside (brachytherapy) and from the outside (percutaneous). The radiation dose is very small and does not have the power to destroy all cells. Rather, it stimulates biological processes that promote the breakdown of the damaged tissue. It can therefore take a while for the PSA value (tumor marker) to drop.
For advanced prostate cancer with metastases, drugs or chemotherapy are better than radiation therapy because they work throughout the body. Nevertheless, irradiation can also be useful here to keep cancer growth under control and to alleviate symptoms. Especially with Skeletal metastases radiation helps relieve pain and lower the risk of fractures.
Radiation for a brain tumor
If possible, radiation therapy is combined with an operation. During the procedure, the doctor tries to remove the malignant tissue as completely as possible. However, this only works in rare cases. The microscopic remains of malignant tissue are then treated with radiation therapy. In most cases, percutaneous irradiation is aimed at the so-called enlarged tumor region. This is supposed to prevent the growth of the malignant residual tissue.
Tumors in the posterior fossa are prone to metastases that cannot be treated surgically. Radiation therapy can target these areas and stunt growth.
Radiation for lung cancer
Lung cancer is treated very differently. Depending on the type of tumor, the patient's state of health and the stage of the disease, the doctor can choose between surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or other forms of treatment. Radiation therapy is rarely used in bronchial carcinoma:
- when surgery is not possible
- if the tumor is well advanced at diagnosis and could not be completely removed surgically
- if the tumor is in its early stages. Doctors can then use stereotactic radiation therapy to irradiate him from multiple directions
- to relieve pain
Radiation therapy is usually carried out externally (percutaneously) and lasts from a few days to several weeks. It can also be used as brachytherapy.
Radiotherapy for osteoarthritis
X-ray stimulation (functional radiation therapy) is mainly used for inflammatory and degenerative joint diseases and for excess scarring. In the case of osteoarthritis, the radiation works Inflammatory mechanism in the joint by intervening in the body's immune reaction: The rays destroy the cells of the immune system that trigger the inflammation in the joint. This can reduce pain in the hip, hand or knee joint and increase mobility. Also nodular scarring can be kept under control with radiation therapy. Tissue is not destroyed in the process; the bone itself remains unchanged.
This therapy is used especially for:
- inflammatory and degenerative joint diseases (e.g. shoulder syndrome, tennis elbow, knee and finger joint osteoarthritis)
- Inflammatory tendon irritation (e.g. heel spur, Achilles tendon irritation, greater trochanter pain syndrome on the hip)
- Diseases with excessively proliferating scar tissue (e.g. Dupuytren's disease and Ledderhose's disease)
According to the Erlangen University Hospital in Germany, almost 50,000 patients are now irradiated with these diseases every year. The success rate is 60 to 70 percent. If the treatment does not respond the first time, it can be repeated.
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