You will find that there are a number of different types of radiation treatments that can be used to treat patients with a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Treatment for All Stages of Mesothelioma
Radiation therapy is very unique when it comes to mesothelioma because due to the fact that this type of treatment can be used no matter what stage the cancer the patient has. It is possible to use this for both palliative measures as well as potentially curative purposes.
External Beam Radiation
This is the form of radiation that most individuals will think of when it comes to the treatment of cancer. This is when X-Rays or CT scans are used to administer the radiation.
3-Dimensional conformal radiation therapy is like external beam radiation, but it is more advanced. 3D-CRT is used to target the tumor more directly.
Intensity-modulated radiation treatment is great because it can be used to give the patient different levels of radiation at one time.
Intraoperative radiation therapy is given during surgery. Results are received by using the radiation directly on the tumor.
When it comes to radiation treatment you should know that that there are two main types. These include external beam radiation and intraoperative radiation therapy. When it comes to which one will be used it will be important to know the size of the tumor as well as how far the radiation will be traveling through the body.
External Beam Radiation (EBR)
External beam radiation is used for all stages of this cancer. A radiation machine (X-ray, CT) is used to send high-energy beams into the cancer.
The doctor will determine exactly how big the tumor is. This helps to ensure that healthy tissue is not impacted. How much radiation is given is going to be based on how large the tumor is. Treatments only take 5-10 minutes and the amount of time that you are in the office may only last about 30 minutes.
Treatment is usually performed at an outpatient center, 5 days a week, for 3-10 weeks. Following treatment, patients follow up with their oncologist about the next steps in treatment and/or possible recovery.
Three-dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy (3D-CRT)
3D – CRT, is a form of external beam radiation. It uses scanners and even computers in order to ensure that the radiation has a target. Computers are very important and they are important at determining the calibration in the machine to taking pictures of the areas that are affected.
3D-CRT will send radiation to a specific location. Doing so will ensure that the tumor is actually impacted and the tissue around it is not damaged.
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
Similar to the 3D-CRT radiation, it is going to deliver radiation to the tumor and it will be very strong. What is really interesting is the fact that IMRT is also able to send different levels of treatment at the very same time.
Larger areas of the tumor can receive larger amounts of radiation. This will keep tissue from around the tumor from being damaged. With this type of therapy, there is a higher chance that toxicity will be experienced. This can also cause more health problems like cardiomyopathy or even coronary disease.
Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)
IORT is when radiation is used during a surgery. The radiation will not have to pass through the skin or any other tissue that is around the tumor. IORT can keep the rate of tumor growth very low when you look at the where the incision is made.
Any patient that makes the decision to have IORT and post surgery radiation treatment at the same time will see that they are going to have less problems. Patients ideal for this are those who have smaller tumors and are over the age of 50.
Brachytherapy is a kind of Intraoperative Radiation Therapy. This is when a radioactive pellet will be planted into the tumor. They are placed into the actual tumor and they give off a continuous dose of radiation.
Treatment Side Effects
Those that go through radiation may have acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) side effects.
Acute side effects are when a patient feels tired or their skin is irritated. They become tired because the body is using a lot of energy trying to heal itself. The patient may feel like they are suffering from a sunburn. Some patients have stomachaches, vomiting or slight pain while breathing.
Chronic side effects do not happen that often and they will depend on what type of treatment you are receiving and how far along the cancer is.
Some people may have hearing loss, hand and foot numbness and even cardiac issues. Respiratory problems and other types of cancers are rare but have happened.
The radiologist will be able to speak with you about the type of treatment that will be best. They can also help you identify any possible consequences you may have.
Improve Your Chances With Radiation
It will be best for you to speak with a radiologist. They will be able to help you make the best decisions. They will be able to determine what you are dealing with and what methods of treatment will help you the most.