10) Advice for Radiotherapy

10) Advice for RadiotherapyRadiotherapy is a treatment that uses radiation to kill cancer cells and reduce the size of tumors. Radiation has the power to induce DNA damage, and, since cancer cells have trouble in repairing DNA, radiation can be used to induce damage to a point where they are killed. For this reason, radiation is given daily in small doses: this can give healthy cells time to repair themselves, preventing other types of cancer to arise. It takes some time for cancer cells to die by receiving this radiation, and so radiotherapy normally lasts weeks or months. It is common for people to have five sessions a week, but the duration and frequency of sessions depends entirely on the nature of each case.Radiotherapy can be internal or external. In the first, a machine will focus the radiation on the cancer’s area, while in the second a radioactive implant is put inside the body, or a radioactive liquid is swallowed or injected [1]. It can be combined with surgical treatment for better outcomes. Before surgery, radiation can shrink the tumor and make it less likely to return. During surgery, it can be applied directly to the tumor, in higher doses. After surgery, it can kill the remaining cancer cells [2].  Before Radiation TherapyBefore starting your radiotherapy sessions, there is some important information you should have. Don’t be afraid to talk to your care team and ask everything you want to know. Try to understand what will happen, which type of radiation you will receive, how many sessions you will go through and how often they will happen. Also, side effects are very common. Be prepared to experience some of them, and try to find solutions with your care team to keep your daily activities. You may need some help with your normal activities during the course of treatment, like taking care of the children or housework. Ask a friend or another family member for help during this period of time. It is also important to:Let your team know if you have any implants;Have a talk about fertility with your doctor. Some kinds of treatment may affect your fertility, so it is important to discuss your future plans with your care team;Pay attention to your side effects during the treatment. Write down what you feel, and never hesitate to ask more information about your symptoms. There is probably a way to ease them. Prevent pregnancy. During the treatment, use contraception methods, as the radiation employed may have serious effects on babies.Stop smoking. Smoking can make the treatment less effective and also make the side effects more serious. It is a tough time, and people can help to ease the stress you may be feeling. Find some hobbies. Finding a way to relax and enjoy your time is essential, since you may be unable to work with the same intensity or frequency as before.Eating During Radiation Therapy The aforementioned side effects can include nausea, mouth sores, esophagitis and lack of appetite.This can make it very hard to eat but, since your body uses a lot of energy to deal with the disease and the treatment, you have to eat calories and protein in a sufficient amount. It is, therefore, very important, to maintain your weight during treatment