The term "radiation" as a cancer treatment has become common knowledge. However, what many people do not know—cancer patients, their families, and the public at large—is how exactly radiation works. How can a cancer treatment institute in Fairhope, AL, actually fight off cancer cells and help you survive this difficult condition?
Learn more about radiation treatments below, with detailed information courtesy of the American Cancer Society.
Types of Radiation
Radiation cancer treatment actually covers 2 types of services, both of which can resolve many cancers of many areas of the body. One type is external beam radiation, in which a large machine is aimed at your cancer cells and directs a flood of radiation in the area. It will direct it straight to the cancer cells to kill them before they spread.
Internal radiation, meanwhile, uses a solid or liquid substance to deliver radiation internally to directly attack cancer cells. This is usually delivered via an IV line at a hospital. Unlike chemotherapy, which subjects the entire body to cancer-fighting drugs, radiation treatment will target cancer cells directly. This prevents healthy cell loss.
What It Is
Radiation is a type of generated energy in wave or particle form. Radiation directly damages the DNA of cells, killing them. When human cells are exposed to radiation, the cells will be incapable of multiplying or growing. Radiation will eventually kill most of them. Essentially, what radiation treatment will aim to do is kill cancerous cells while damaging as few healthy, cancer-free cells as possible. Radiation will therefore be used to eliminate cancer and tumors in patients of all ages.
How It Works
Human cells, like humans themselves, have a life and reproduction cycle. The process begins at a resting stage, at which cells perform ordinary bodily functions. The second stage involves the cell making new proteins and preparing to divide, or reproduce. The cell will make RNA, which is needed to copy DNA. DNA determines the qualities and functions of the new cells. In the third stage, the DNA will be copied and the cell will be ready to divide. Fourth, the cell will obtain information about how to divide, when to divide, and essentially await signals to begin dividing. Cells split, or divide, into 2 cells in a process called mitosis. Mitosis is the last stage of cell reproduction. The cells of the human body will continuously produce new cells to replace dead ones and help the body grow.
Radiation will target and eliminate the DNA of cancer cells, first attacking those that are in the dividing stage. Cells that are in the first stage (resting) are less vulnerable to radiation and will be the last to be eliminated. As radiation penetrates an area where cancer cells have been detected, the cancer cells will be eliminated before the fast and uncontrolled process of cancer cell reproduction becomes destructive to the body.
Depending on the size, type, and location of the cancer, radiation can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to be effective. While there are side effects to radiation treatment, radiation is much safer for the body than chemotherapy and is the leading treatment used by the best cancer treatment institute in Fairhope, AL. Radiation can destroy cancer and help those who suffer from this terrible condition to live longer, fuller, healthier, and happier lives.
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