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Spine Surgery Guide

Radiation Therapy

Types of Radiation Therapy

Just as there are many types of spinal tumors, there are many radiation therapies. Your doctor will discuss which one(s), if any, are appropriate for your treatment plan.
  • External Radiation Therapy: External radiation therapy is the most common and is delivered to the patient from the outside of the body. In other words, radiation is directed at a specific area of the body or target. This type of therapy is often provided on an outpatient basis.
  • Internal Radiation Therapy (or Interstitial Radiation Therapy): This kind of radiation therapy delivers radiation by means of sealed implants inserted near the tumor. This type of therapy is more common in cases of neck cancer. This therapy usually requires hospitalization because the patient is radioactive. Special precautions are taken to protect hospital staff and visitors.
  • Palliative Radiation Therapy: This is delivered to help reduce pain and symptoms from metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread).
  • Prophylactic Radiation Therapy: This is delivered to cancer-free areas to help prevent the spread (metastasis) of cancer cells. This type of radiation is not suitable for all patients or types of cancerous spinal tumors.

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Details about Radiation Therapy

Simulation is the term used to describe where beams of radiation will be aimed. The radiation therapist uses x-ray or CT to determine the exact target spot(s). Radiation target spots are marked—with a marking pen on your body.

Because you must lie very still during radiation therapy, a body mold may be constructed to keep you comfortably immobile. Such body molds are usually made from foam or plastic. If necessary, radiation shields are built into the body mold to protect organs and tissues. Side Effects of Radiation Therapy

Most radiation therapy patients experience side effects. Ask your doctor or radiologist about the side effects you may experience. Some common side effects include:

  • Skin irritation at the therapy site
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss

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This information is not designed to replace a physician's independent judgment about the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient.
Always consult your doctor about your medical conditions or back problem. We Care Health Services does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use of the site is conditional upon your acceptance of our Terms and Conditions is a member of the medical tourism information network

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