Chemotherapy Vs Radiotherapy For Treating Cancer:
With the growing number of ailments, deadly cancer has become widespread nowadays. Individuals are experiencing different types of cancer like skin, brain, breast, liver, etc. It usually occurs due to consistent alcohol intake, smoking habits and unhealthy activities. Among women, breast cancer has now become more prevalent than ever before.Cancer has been the second-leading cause of death among individuals. But all thanks to emerging science and technology. It has brought great solutions like chemotherapy and radiotherapy to treat the disease.
What Is Cancer?
Cancer is a disease caused by the abnormal growth of body cells with the ability to spread and destroy body tissues. It can develop anywhere inside the body. The collection of numerous cancerous cells causes them to accumulate in the form of tissues within different parts. It eventually ends up with a more serious ailment, a tumor.
Two types of tumors exist;
- Benign tumor – It develops at a certain body part and does not expand. Hence, it is easy to treat with minimal to no chances of recurrence.
- Cancerous tumor – It spreads from one tissue to another due to the expansion of cancerous cells. Thus, it is challenging to control, treat and prevent from growing again.
Chemotherapy Vs Radiotherapy
Both chemotherapy and radiotherapy are preferable approaches recommended for treating cancer.
Chemotherapy relies on using specifically designed drugs to shrink and ultimately kill the cancer cells. It stops the expansion of diseased cells. Consequently, it eliminates the cancerous cells, preserves tissues and treats cancer.
Radiotherapy, as the name suggests, is based on radiation like X-rays that compose high-energy beams to kill cancer cells.
How do Chemotherapy & Radiotherapy Work?
As both the treatments differ in one way or another, their working mechanism varies too.
Chemotherapy acts as a cancer killer. The process involves the infusion of a drug within your bloodstream. It targets the primary cancerous region and kills the diseased cells. As the drug systematically circulates within the whole body, it makes sure to detox the entire body out of cancer.
Radiotherapy also functions as a cancer killer, focusing on a targeted region. The invisible radiations with higher energy and frequency pass through the skin layers, eliminating cancerous cells. However, this treatment only works one body part at a time. It is usually best for initial-stage treatment.
Which Therapy to Opt For?
The choice of therapy depends on your medical condition and cancer stage. For earlier cancer stages, the doctor usually suggests radiation therapy. It is because initially, cancer cells restrict to a particular body part. The radio waves can precisely target and eliminate it before expanding any further. But chemotherapy can be life-saving for individuals battling for life while at the last stages of cancer. It aims to treat the cancer cell even when they would have been spread throughout the body.
No matter how effective each therapy can be, only consulting a cancer specialist can suggest to you what to opt for. It is necessary because a professional can conduct blood tests and analyze your body to make a worthy decision. Apart from that, there are chances that the doctor may suggest a combination of both radiotherapy and chemotherapy, called concurrent therapy, for positive outcomes. Additionally, working with a therapist who specializes in helping people as they manage the challenges of cancer treatment can also be very helpful.
What Can Be The Side-Effects of Undergoing Chemotherapy Vs Radiotherapy?
While undergoing cancer treatment therapy, it is very crucial to know what can be the side effects. Even though both chemotherapy and radiotherapy aim to kill the cancerous cells, it unintentionally becomes destructive to healthy body cells. The loss of required body cells can cause several common side effects affecting your overall health.
These may include the following;
Digestive Issues (diarrhea)
Nausea & Vomiting
Skin Changes (dryness, peeling, or infections)
Anemia (reduced number of red blood cells)
Since radiotherapy works within a particular focused area, it causes lesser side effects. The chemotherapy is, of course, more effective yet riskier.
What to Expect During Chemotherapy vs Radiotherapy for Cancer Treatment?
While going through chemotherapy, your doctor will inject drugs into your veins. It can also be given as oral medicines to swallow, cream or ointment to apply to a particular skin region. The induced drugs will kill cancer cells while causing you multiple side effects. Nonetheless, they more or less depending on which type of cancer you have and how intense it is.
Chemotherapy can always be challenging due to its unpredictable long list of side effects. It can sometimes cause long-lasting health problems like infertility or nerve damage. You must consult your doctor regarding the intensity of the treatment.
During chemotherapy, carrying someone alongside while getting treated is always beneficial. Having a loved one there can take good care of you and give you emotional support.
Processing radiotherapy is far more convenient with lower side effects than chemotherapy. The doctor focuses the radio waves on the affected body region during the radiation treatment. It can, of course, damage the surrounding cells as well, causing the typical side-effects like vomiting and health deterioration. But unlike chemotherapy, it does not causes hair loss or life-long health concerns.
Radiotherapy can either be very painful or painless depending on the body cancer. However, it is necessary to consult a doctor regarding the preventive measures before and after treatment.
Effects of Undergoing a Cancer Treatment Therapy on the Family
Having cancer is hard enough for the patient. It additionally may pose immense stress to the person’s family as well. In addition to helping to juggle the many appointments and logistics that rigorous treatment demands, it can also be quite traumatizing for them. Many struggle with feeling they cannot do enough, feeling powerless to help or even feeling overwhelmed and exhausted themselves – not to mention the fears they face worrying about their loved one.
Additionally, a cancer patient may be medically vulnerable and more susceptible to catching other illnesses. While undergoing radiotherapy or chemotherapy, you might have to distance yourself from some public events at times. Disease treatment of any kind brings some vital lifestyle changes that both the patient and the family have to adapt to.
But ultimately, a family can always be a huge support to the cancer patient. It can help individuals survive the worst phase of life. Talking and sharing pain can help you heal. Their consistent love and care can be nothing short of life-affirming. This includes the “family” you have built in your life; friends, neighbors, school, religious community, close co-workers and those new ones you will find in a cancer support group. And a seasoned therapist who works with people facing these unique challenges would be great, too. It takes a village. And you can do it !