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BRAIN CANCER AND RADIATION THERAPY

The brain is the most important organ in our human body. It performs multifarious functions like it controls, coordinates our actions and reactions. It helps us to feel, think, have memories and feelings. So it’s our duty to keep it healthy and safe. In spite of taking all the precautions, still there are chances of tumours forming in the brain. Like cancer spreads in any part of the body, it can also spread to the brain. A cancerous or non-cancerous mass or growth of abnormal cells can start in the brain.

Symptoms can be headache, blurred vision, loss of balance, confusion and seizures. In some cases there are no symptoms at all. Brain Cancer can occur in adults and children. However technological advancement in radiation therapy has made it possible to manage primary brain tumours.

Brain Cancer and Radiation Therapy:

Where surgery cannot remove the tumour formed in the brain, radiation therapy can go deep into the tissues, break the DNA and can also kill the brain tumour cells. Radiation Therapy is as effect as surgery, it can even reduce the chances of a tumour to come back again. Today radiation therapies are more advanced and people who undergo treatment through them can live longer.

Radiation kills Cancer

Today doctors treat brain tumours through radiation therapy as it’s more effective in destroying cancer cells. There are two types of radiation therapy— Whole –brain radiation therapy and Stereotactic radio surgery.

 Whole-brain radiation therapy

Stereotactic radio surgery:

This is more preferred as with a high dose of radiation only the tumour is focused and treated, hence side effects are very less. But still these are the best two ways to detect brain tumours early.

In this treatment the entire brain can be targeted, even those tumours that cannot be seen in the MRI scan. There are a few side effects like tiredness, hair loss and memory problems.

 

Radiation Therapy is suitable or not

The best Oncologist, Radiation Therapists and Neurosurgeons , decide if radiation therapy is right or not for a patient. This is done because patients with brain cancer, a number of factors need to be seen, like the type of tumour, symptoms, the number of lesions and main aim is to give a better life to the patient.

Side Effects: Though there are a few side effects such as, it can also destroy normal cells in the area. It may be unpleasant but there are treatments even for these side effects, which are temporary and can disappear on completion of the therapy. Radiation Oncologists, prefer to see the patient once a week while the treatment is in process, so that to manage the side effects a strategy can be planned. Side effects differs from patient to patient, fatigue, hair loss, skin irritation, hearing becomes less, short-term memory loss, headache .When a patient experiences these side effects, he should immediately inform the treating doctor, who helps to take care of it. These side effects occur during treatment, but some take months to occur after the treatment. There is a chance of a second cancer developing near the area where radiation was given. Rarely due to radiation therapy, a healthy brain tissue can be damaged .But still this risk has to be taken to administer radiation therapy.

Duration of radiation treatment for brain cancer:

To plan the treatment for radiation therapy, it will take an hour. The next treatment lasts a few minutes and after that each session for 30 to 45 minutes.

Radiation therapy to the brain:

Radiation for brain cancer is done with the help of a machine, in which beams of radiation is focused at the tumour directly. This destroys the cancer cells and the patient cannot see or feel the radiation. Once the cancer cells are damaged through radiation, they cannot be reproduced again. Though normal cells are also affected, they can repair themselves. The treating doctor decides whether to administer partial or full brain radiation, this depends on the treatment plan.

Radiation Therapy and Chemotherapy:

Before Chemotherapy sometimes doctors advise radiation therapy, as the first cancer treatment. Radiation therapy works differently from chemotherapy. Radiation targets only the cancerous cells whereas chemotherapy sends the drugs to the whole body. Since radiation is given to the affected area side effects are fewer than chemotherapy.

DIET: brain tumours and radiation therapy

Generally, a ketogenic diet is recommended—a high fat, low carbohydrate, controlled protein diet.  This diet is more effective when radiation therapy is given. It stops the growth of the tumor and reduces inflammation and edema around the tumor.

  • 5 to 6 small meals can be taken in a day.
  • Drink fluids( clear soups, juices, ginger water ) 30-60 minutes before or after eating.
  • Dry foods— toast, cereal, crackers.
  • Cottage cheese, fruit and yogurt. Whole grains , breads, oatmeal.

Try to avoid sweets, spicy, fatty, greasy or fried foods. Rinse your mouth with soda and water before and after eating. A good oral hygiene must be maintained. Limit alcohol consumption and smoking. Decrease red meat and increase poultry and fish.

Novel treatments to treat brain cancer through Radio therapy:

Many are aware that cancer is caused by abnormal growth of cells in the body that  can also spread to the brain. But still awareness that radiation therapy can treat the cancer is unknown to many. Radiation therapy can destroy the cancer cells and stop the spread of its growth, should be emphasized among people, through seminars, media and campaign programmes in schools, colleges and residential areas.

The human brain is a central part of our nervous system, and interacts with various cells in our body.  Doctors also prefer to treat brain tumors by radiation therapy as its effective in treating faster. People who are undergoing  radiation therapies are living longer than before, this awareness has to brought to the forefront at the earliest. Now people should understand the benefits of radiation therapy to treat brain cancer. Magazines and journals can also be read about radiation therapy for better treatment, prevention, and cures for a better life.

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