Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Radiation therapy as a treatment for Mesothelioma

In this post I will discuss one of the treatments to treat mesothelioma. The treatment is Intensity-modulated radiation Therapy (IMRT). IMRT is a kind of radiation therapy which uses x-rays of high energy to kill mesothelioma cancer cells to destroy the tumors.

Two types of radiation therapy are

1) External radiation therapy

2) Internal radiation therapy

External radiation therapy uses a machine to beam x-rays into the body where the mesothelioma cells are located. Proper care has to be taken in this method as some times good cells adjacent to the bad cells could also get damaged. IMRT is a type of three-dimensional therapy. A computer delivers the radiation as it moves around the patient’s body. The machine can shape the beams; adjust the strength of the beams and the angle at which they are delivered.

Internal radiation therapy also called at brachytherapy is a process in which chemicals are introduced to produce radiation at the mesothelioma cancer affected location in the body. A thin plastic tube is used and is inserted into the chest or abdomen.

Mesothelioma tumors are not discrete solid tumors but are usually spread over a large area and because of this it is very difficult to deliver radiation in sufficient doses properly to kill the tumor without damaging good cells. For this reason, radiation is mainly used to kill the remaining tumors after a surgery. Another usage of radiation is to relieve symptoms of mesothelioma. However, radiation has its side effects as in the process good cells can also get damaged.

Source: mesothelioma-data.com