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While neck radiation can cause serious side effects, there are steps you can take in advance to lessen these adverse reactions. “The goal when prescribing and delivering radiation therapy as part of a patient’s treatment plan is to reduce the risks as much as possible,” says Kamal M. Patel, MD, doctor of radiation oncology at Cancer ...
Head and neck cancer includes cancer from the throat up. Treatments for this category of cancers often includes either chemotherapy, radiation, or both. The side effects from radiation can be lifelong issues that are sometimes life-threatening. Here are 5 side effects you must know about.
Many side effects of radiation therapy to your head and neck can make it hard to eat and drink. This can cause weight loss, fatigue (having less energy than usual), and dehydration. If your weight changes, the mask used during your treatment may not fit correctly. This can make it harder to stay in the correct position for your treatments.
Radiation to the brain can also have side effects that show up later – usually from 6 months to many years after treatment ends. These delayed effects can include serious problems such as memory loss, stroke-like symptoms, and poor brain function. You may also have an increased risk of having another tumor in the area, although this is not ...
Side effects of radiation treatment in head and neck cancer Radiation therapy (RT) is often used to treat head and neck cancer. It can be used as the only treatment, in combination with chemotherapy (chemoradiation therapy), or after surgery (adjuvant radiation therapy) .
Radiation oncologists use many highly advanced technologies to treat head and neck cancer. Among the most effective treatments for head and neck cancer are intensity-modulated radiation therapy and proton therapy. These specialized approaches can help prevent side effects, including those that affect your ability to eat or swallow.
Radiation therapy or radiotherapy, often abbreviated RT, RTx, or XRT, is therapy using ionizing radiation, generally as part of cancer treatment to control or kill malignant cells and normally delivered by a linear accelerator. Radiation therapy may be curative in a number of types of cancer if they are localized to one area of the body. It may also be used as part of adjuvant therapy, to prevent tumor recurrence after surgery to remove a primary malignant tumor (for example, early stages of breast cancer). Radiation therapy is synergistic with chemotherapy, and has been used before, during, and after chemotherapy in susceptible cancers. The subspecialty of oncology concerned with radiotherapy is called radiation oncology. Radiation therapy is commonly applied to the cancerous tumor because of its ability to control cell growth. Ionizing radiation works by damaging the DNA of cancerous tissue leading to cellular death.
Head and neck cancer is a group of cancers that starts in the mouth, nose, throat, larynx, sinuses, or salivary glands. Symptoms for head and neck cancer may include a lump or sore that does not heal, a sore throat that does not go away, trouble swallowing, or a change in the voice. There may also be unusual bleeding, facial swelling, or trouble breathing. About 75% of head and neck cancer is caused by the use of alcohol or tobacco. Other risk factors include betel quid, certain types of human papillomavirus, radiation exposure, certain workplace exposures, and Epstein-Barr virus. Head and neck cancers are most commonly of the squamous cell carcinoma type. The diagnosis is confirmed by tissue biopsy. The degree of spread may be determined by medical imaging and blood tests. Not using tobacco or alcohol can reduce the risk for head and neck cancer. While screening in the general population does not appear to be useful, screening high risk groups by examination of the throat might be useful. Head and neck cancer often is curable if it is diagnosed early; however, outcomes are typically poor if it is diagnosed late. Treatment may include a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Following treatment of one head and neck cancer, people are at higher risk of a second cancer. In 2015, head and neck cancers globally affected more than 5.5 million people (mouth 2.4 million, throat 1.7 million, and larynx 1.4 million), and it has caused over 379,000 deaths (mouth 146,000, throat 127,400, larynx 105,900). Together, they are the seventh most frequent cancer and the ninth-most-frequent cause of death from cancer. In the United States, about 1% of people are affected at some point in their life, and males are affected twice as often as females. The usual age at diagnosis is between 55 and 65 years old. The average 5 year survival following diagnosis in the developed world is 42-64%.
Brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy where a sealed radiation source is placed inside or next to the area requiring treatment. Brachytherapy is commonly used as an effective treatment for cervical, prostate, breast, and skin cancer and can also be used to treat tumours in many other body sites. Treatment results have demonstrated that the cancer-cure rates of brachytherapy are either comparable to surgery and external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) or are improved when used in combination with these techniques. Brachytherapy can be used alone or in combination with other therapies such as surgery, EBRT and chemotherapy. Brachytherapy contrasts with unsealed source radiotherapy, in which a therapeutic radionuclide (radioisotope) is injected into the body to chemically localize to the tissue requiring destruction. It also contrasts to EBRT, in which high-energy x-rays (or occasionally gamma-rays from a radioisotope like cobalt-60) are directed at the tumour from outside the body. Brachytherapy instead involves the precise placement of short-range radiation-sources (radioisotopes, Iodine-125 for instance) directly at the site of the cancerous tumour.