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Doctor insights on: Radiation Therapy

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What is radiation therapy?

What is radiation therapy?

Kill cancer by Rads: Use of high energy x-ray typically ( protons, gamma rays etc to name a few other) to cause irreparable damage to a target tumor to destroy the tumor while causing minimal damage to surrounding organs and tissues. ...Read more

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Dr. Arnon Rubin
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Radioactive (Definition)

Radioactivity refers to the particles which are emitted from nuclei as a result of nuclear instability. Because the nucleus experiences the intense conflict between the two strongest forces in nature, it should not be surprising that there are many nuclear isotopes which are unstable and emit some kind of radiation. The most common types of radiation are called alpha, ...Read more


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Can you tell me exactly when is radiation therapy used to treat cancer and when is chemotherapy used?

Can you tell me exactly when is radiation therapy used to treat cancer and when is chemotherapy used?

Local v. Systemic Rx: Cancer rx involves treating the organ where the cancer developed (local rx) as well as any cancer cells that may have broken away from the organ of origin and travelled elsewhere in the body (systemic rx). In general, surgery and radiation therapy are local rx whereas chemotherapy is designed to circulate throughout the body and kill cancer cells. Ideally, these 3 modalities work together for cure. ...Read more

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Dr. Arnon Rubin
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What is the definition or description of: external beam radiation therapy?

What is the definition or description of: external beam radiation therapy?

Radiation can be: Delivered internally, using unsealed liquid sources or pellets or seeds implanted temporarily or permanently. More commonly, it is delivered by a machine that aims beams from the outside at targets located internally, and passes through healthy cells on entry and exit, as the # of beams increase, and focus on the target, the dose to healthy tissue diminishes. Ebrt is common. ...Read more

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Is radiation therapy painful?

Is radiation therapy painful?

No: Radiation is an x-ray which is invisible and painless. It's side effects depending on where and what organs are being treated could lead to discomfort or pain. ...Read more

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Dr. Arnon Rubin
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Is there a way to tell if my radiation therapy is working?

Is there a way to tell if my radiation therapy is working?

Not always: This depends on if you can see or feel the cancer physically or your doctor sees the tumor on setup x-rays. In these cases you could see the tumor shrinking and as such it is working. In many cases we are treating cancer that are too small to see even on x-rays and the therapy is based in studies that have shown radiation will work. Over time you are examined and xrayed to verify how it worked. ...Read more

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Can you tell me about chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapies, and transplantation.?

Can you tell me about chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapies, and transplantation.?

All to treat cancer: Various approaches are employed to manage Ca, especially those with metastasis. Chemo is most commonly employed targeting cell cycle and DNA repair mechanisms. Radiation is also used to attack large inop tumors or residual tumor in the tumor bed. Target therapies are usually immunogenic agents targeting various growth factors and immunogenic proteins. Transplantation replaces damaged marrow ...Read more

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If I have colon cancer and get radiation therapy, can I safely have sex with my husband?

If I have colon cancer and get radiation therapy, can I safely have sex with my husband?

Yes: Once you leave the radiation room there is no radiation left in you to effect your husband. As long as you do not have discomfort in the abdomen, pelvis or genitals there is no reason you can not have sex. ...Read more

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Is it dangerous for a pregnant woman to go near someone that is undergoing cancer radiation therapy?

Is it dangerous for a pregnant woman to go near someone that is undergoing cancer radiation therapy?

Typically, no: The most common way people receive radiation therapy is with external beam treatment. If this was the case, there is no risk of radiation exposure to anyone after each treatment session. It is very similar to getting an x-ray. If there was any implanted radiation or ingested or injected radiation, there may be concerns of radiation exposure. If you are not certain of the type of radiation, ask. ...Read more

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Irradiation (Definition)

Irradiation is the process by which an object is exposed to radiation. The exposure can originate from various sources, including natural sources. Most frequently the term refers to ionizing radiation, and to a level of radiation that will serve a specific purpose, rather than radiation exposure to normal ...Read more


Gamma Rays (Definition)

This is light of extremely short wavelengths typically produced either among the stars / in cosmic rays or by radioactive element decay. Gamma rays form the background of normal radiation in which we all live; it is substantially greater than the exposure we get from imaging scans or should get from ...Read more


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Dr. Arnon Rubin
Board Certified, Internal Medicine
18 years in practice
139K people helped
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