Getting diagnosed with cancer will seem dooming to anyone. Availing treatment at the earliest is the best possible way to increase the chances of cure and increase the survival rate of patients. There are several treatment options available for cancer patients depending on various factors. These include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy and hormonal therapy to name a few.
In this article, we will get to learn more about radiation therapy as a treatment option and patient care tips for those undergoing this treatment.
What Is Radiation Therapy?
Radiation therapy refers to a kind of localised cancer treatment where high-energy rays like X-rays are used for destroying the cancer cells. A specialist who administers radiation therapy is called a radiation therapist or a radiation oncologist.
A radiation therapy schedule or regimen generally includes a specific number of treatments administered over a specific period. This treatment is used for treating several kinds of cancer. Sometimes, radiation therapy is used in combination with surgery or chemotherapy.
Since it is a localised treatment, it usually affects just that part of the body where the tumour is located. During this treatment, some healthy tissues close to the cancer cells may also be damaged during the radiation process, though they generally heal once the treatment has ended.
Patient Care Tips During Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy is more likely to affect patients’ daily life. Self-care is very important during the process as they may experience some general side effects depending on the part of the body that is treated. Here are some general patient care tips for radiation therapy:
Consume a Balanced Diet
Patients who undergo radiation therapy should get their daily dose of nutrients so that their body can recover from the side effects. If patients are undergoing treatment for cancer in parts like the head, neck or abdomen, it can affect their ability to eat properly. In such cases, they should seek diet suggestions from healthcare professionals so that they can cope up with these side effects.
Get Adequate Rest
While undergoing radiation therapy, it is normal for patients to get extremely tired. They should get adequate sleep at night. Even during the day, they should get some rest. They can try to be a little active whenever possible.
The skin of patients undergoing this treatment can be highly sensitive. So, they have to be gentle with handling their skin. The radiation therapist can give tips to take care of the skin. A few skin care tips are:
- Wash the area gently using a mild soap and warm water.
- Avoid rubbing, scrubbing or applying pressure on the area. Wear soft, loose clothing.
- Don’t use ice packs or hot packs on the skin.
- Don’t scrub off or wash any marking used for targeting radiation therapy until you are done with all your treatment sessions.
- Protect the area from exposure to the sun as it can burn easily.
- If the skin in the area gets scraped or cut, talk to the doctor for ways to take care of it.
Well, these are the tips and strategies to take care of patients undergoing radiation therapy. We hope this article was useful and we wish you a speedy recovery.