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Proper Care of Contact Lenses

Healthcare And Medicine. Eye Hygiene Care.

Image is from 1800contacts.com

Contact lenses can be incredibly convenient if you are someone who needs corrective lenses but hates having to worry about having glasses or sunglasses on hand. You simply put the contacts into your eyes at the beginning of the day and you can remove them whenever you wish; often at the end of the day before you head to bed. Millions of people use contacts as a way to improve their vision but there are some risks involved with wearing contacts whether it be once in awhile for a special event or every single day. Infection is just one problem that you can develop.


Causes of Contact Lens Issues

There are a number of reasons people will develop an infection or have problems with their contacts. It can be as simple as not washing your hands properly before touching your lenses or you may be using the wrong type of lens. Many people use extended wear lenses that can be left in the eye for days at a time (you do not need to remove them at the end of the day each day). The eye can become quite damaged this way and not a lot of doctors recommend this type of product. Some people have dry eye issues and when you place a contact on the surface of the eye, you can damage the eye. It can take time and diligence to correct this problem.


How To Prevent A Problem

When you obtain contact lenses for the first time it is likely that you eye care professional will spend some time with you, educating you on how to properly care for not only your lenses but also your eyes. You will learn how to properly clean your lenses using a rub and rinse process and you will learn about cleaning the lens case that you will be using. Properly inspecting your lens before placing it into your eye each day can prevent a corneal scratch or infection. Some other tips include:

-Washing your hands anytime you need to remove your lens or put them back in.
-Dry your hand on a lint free towel. You don’t want to introduce fabric fibers to your eyes or your lenses.
-Try not to come into direct contact with water while wearing your lenses. Plain water can dry out contact lenses, which is why you need to use specially formulated contact solution.
-Saline solution should never be used to clean your lenses. Storage in saline is fine, but there are special formulations for different uses.
-Clean your lens case each time you remove your lenses and leave it open to air dry for the duration of the day while you are wearing your lenses.
-Do not reuse solution in your contact lens case. Dump the used solution each day and refill it when you are going to be taking out your lenses.
-If you haven’t used your lenses in a number of days, you may want to clean them an additional time before using them.

Keep in mind, there are different types of lenses and each variation has its own method of being taken care of. Some lenses are designed to be worn once and then thrown away while others are long term lenses that are not thrown away unless they are damaged or defective. Follow your eye care professional’s advice and take care of your lenses how you were told to do so. If you have any questions or your contact lenses are no longer feeling comfortable like they normally do, seek attention from a doctor before continuing to wear your lenses.

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Importance of Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

 

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Image is from Specialty Eye Institute

Not many people are aware it exists, but August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. This is an important month because nationally, information is promoted that explains just how important it is to pay attention to a child’s eye health. Most people just wait for their child to come home from school with a note from their teacher explaining their child failed the school’s eye test and needs to obtain glasses. When really, there are a number of different conditions that can occur to the eye as a child develops and it is important to make sure regular checkups are scheduled either with an eye doctor or a pediatrician to ensure optimal eye health is being achieved.

Proper Vision


Not being able to see the chalkboard or smart board in school can make for a challenging school year, but more importantly, vision should be checked to rule out other issues that could be going on. For example, many developmental delays and learning disabilities can be due to vision disturbances rather than brain development. A simple pair of glasses can sometimes be the fix that is needed and this is much simpler than needing additional tutoring or separate class instruction. There are some signs that parents can watch out for that indicate vision issues may be present and this includes:


-The child squints when trying to focus on something far away like the television or the road ahead while in the car.
-The child squints when trying to read a book or something that is close to them.
-The eyes seem very bloodshot or irritated after the course of a normal day.
-Eyes may appear watery.
-Headaches are very common amongst children who are having trouble seeing. –They can occur from squinting or simply from trying to focus on something that is giving them problems.
-One or both eyes may appear crossed.

Eye Safety


In addition to making sure your child’s eyes are healthy and strong, making sure the eyes themselves are safe is also very important. When a child is playing sports or doing certain activities, protective eyewear can be beneficial to protect the eyes from harm. Physical injury to this very sensitive part of the body can be very hard to correct and can often lead to lifelong problems with one or both eyes. Eye surgery is not something you want your child to have to undergo. Physical injury to the eyes can occur not just during sports of activity but even during play at home. A small child can greatly damage the eye by tripping or falling while improperly holding an object as they move along. This is especially true with small toddlers who are just learning to navigate their way around and like to toddle around with their toys. While accidents happen, you want to prevent these situations from occurring as best as you can.


Eighty percent of education occurs by way of sight. With the new school year rapidly approaching, now is the time to ensure that your child’s eyes and healthy, safe and ready to be used for reading, learning and absorbing information. Don’t forget that once school starts, illnesses are usually on the rise and conditions such as pink eye are often running rampant. You want to make sure your child knows the importance of washing their hands and not touching their eyes. If you suspect there is an eye problem of any sort, you will want to make an appointment to have your child’s eyes examined. Infection can be present as well as refractive errors, astigmatism, strabismus and even color blindness.

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Causes of Group B Strep

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What is Group B Strep?

Group B strep are bacteria that can colonize in the vagina, rectal, and intestinal area of healthy adults and pregnant women. Statistically, about 25% of all healthy adults will at one time have a GBS infection.

While pregnant women do not often show symptoms of a GBS infection, there is a risk that they can transmit the infection to their newborn baby. Once transmitted, some newborns may develop complication which can cause pneumonia, meningitis, and even sepsis, so infants who are at risk need to be monitored. The best way to prevent this is through early detection in the mother and administration of antibiotics to treat it.

Group B Strep infections can also occur in nonpregnant adults who suffer from chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, or cancer. Typically those over 65 are at higher risk, but the incident rates of GBS infection in nonpregnant adults has been steadily increasing throughout the years.

Causes of Group B Strep

Healthy people can carry Group B Strep in their body at any time, it can also come and go or can stay permanently.

GBS can be found in some pregnant women and if not treated can pass to their newborns. When newborns contract Group B Strep infection in the first week of life it is called early onset. For babies who are 1 to 3 weeks of age when they develop the disease, it is termed late-onset.

How Can Group B Strep be Transmitted?

Group B Strep is transmitted by a pregnant mother to their babies during a vaginal birth. Typically mothers who test positive will be given antibiotics during delivery to reduce the risk of transmission. This will occur in about 50% of mothers who have an active infection during birth.

Out of this 50%, only about 100 to 200 of these babies born will develop a GBS infection requiring treatment.

Who’s at Higher Risk for Group B Strep?

When it comes to having Group B Strep, the incident rates are higher among African Americans than Caucasians. While there are not many statistical differences with a mother becoming a GBS carrier, there are some instances where there is a higher risk of transmission to the infant, including:

  • Early onset of labor
  • Fever during labor and delivery
  • An active urinary tract infection
  • Premature rupture of the membranes
  • Previous Group B Strep infection
  • Positive GBS culture after 35 weeks or pregnancy

Symptoms of GBS Infection

When an active Group B Strep infection is present, there can be some symptoms that can range from mild to severe. Some of the symptoms to watch out for include.

In Newborns

  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Bluish color
  • limpness
  • Stiffness
  • Breath complications
  • Diarrhea
  • Fussiness
  • Problems with heart rate and blood pressure
  • Problems feeding

In Adults

  • Skin infections
  • Sepsis
  • Lung infection
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Meningitis
  • Joint infections

Treatment of GBS

While the most common form of treatment is to treat the mother with antibiotics during labor to prevent the transmission, once contracted a GBS infection is typically treated with IV antibiotics and sometimes a surgical procedure if a bone or joint infection is present.

While GBS infections can result in severe complications, they are often preventable in newborns with routine maternal screening which makes prenatal care essential to protecting your newborn against such infections.

 

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Significance of International Group B Strep Awareness Month

AwarenessMonth_Twitter

July the Awareness Month for Strep B

July is the awareness month that helps educate expecting moms and individuals about Strep B. Strep B stands for Streptococcus a dangerous bacterium that can cause illness in newborns and individuals with weak and even strong immune systems.

Most of the time there are no symptoms presents when a person is infected with the bacterial infection, which is why it is essential for expecting moms to be screened for it before they give birth. If the infection is not caught before the newborn arrives and it is present, the infection can pass right onto the newborn during delivery. If a newborn ends up catching the illness there is potential for it to become serious and even fatal.

Why is Strep B so dangerous?

Strep B is so dangerous because it can turn into meningitis, sepsis and pneumonia without proper diagnoses and treatment. People with strong immune systems can typically survive and fight off these types of infections, but newborn babies during the first weeks of life tend to struggle. This is due to their weakened immune systems, and why so many babies who contract the Strep B illness pass away. Other health problems that can arise from suffering from a Strep B infection are hearing loss, and mental and physical disabilities.

How is Strep B tested?

Expecting moms and individuals are tested for Strep B through a genital swab test. Sometimes testing can be done with a simple urine or blood test. Pregnant women get this test done by their OBGYN or midwife at 37 weeks of pregnancy. Those who suspect they may have it can ask their family doctor to test for the infection.

With that said, the only true way an individual can know for themselves that they could be potentially infected with the bacterium is by experiencing symptoms. Without symptoms, individuals don’t usually suspect any can of infection until it becomes so serious staying in the hospital is essential for intense treatment to help rid the infection from the body.

What are some of the symptoms of the infection?

  • Infection setting into an area of skin
  • Painful urination with a UTI
  • Constant fever with chills
  • Lethargy
  • Skin rashes or infections
  • Vaginal discharge and discomforts
  • Inflammation in the lungs or joints of the body
  • Irritability or moodiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches and dizziness if the infection spreads to the brain

Where does the Strep B bacterium live within the body?

Strep B bacterium is found in the mouth, throat, genital area, rectum and sometimes even bloodstream of the body. It is passed through bodily fluid contact, or simply encountering the bacteria hanging out on an individual’s skin. If an individual does become infected with Strep B, thankfully there are treatments that work effectively with curing the illness.

What are the antibiotics for most useful for treating the infection?

The antibiotics most commonly used for treating the Strep B infection are ampicillin, penicillin, cefazolin and clindamycin. These medications are provided orally, but with serious infection they are given through IV in the hospital. You can only get these medications through prescriptions from doctors.

End Thoughts for the Significance of Strep B Awareness Month?

The best way to save lives from Strep B is by becoming educated and educating others about the infection. July’s awareness month is the perfect opportunity to get the word out there to help promote proper screening for it in individuals of all ages. After all, everyone deserves to know about potentially life threatening infections that are preventable through proper screening and testing and treatable with simple antibiotics.

 

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What is Oral Cancer?

OralCancerAwarenessMonth_infographic

Image is from Market My Laser

Oral cancer is a persistent growth or sore inside the mouth that is caused by an uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage. It will not go away on its own. It includes the following surrounding tissues:

  • Throat
  • Tonsils
  • Sinuses
  • Hard and Soft Palate
  • Floor of the Mouth
  • Cheeks
  • Tongue
  • Lips

What are the Symptoms?

There are numerous symptoms associated with oral cancer. The most common ones are:

  • Any lesions or swelling on the lips, gums, or other areas inside your mouth
  • Unexplained oral bleeding
  • Unexplained numbness, tenderness, or pain in any areas of the mouth, face or neck
  • Persistent sores in the mouth or the neck and face that do not heal within two weeks.
  • Red, white, or red and white speckled patches in your mouth
  • A feeling that something is caught in the back of your throat
  • Difficulty speaking, chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue or jaw
  • Chronic sore throat, hoarseness, or change of voice
  • Earache
  • A change in your teeth or the way your dentures fit together
  • Large weight loss

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with your dentist or primary care physician as soon as possible.

Who is at Risk?

It is estimated that over 40,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Men face twice the risk than women, and men over the age of 50 face the greatest risk of all.

Oral cancer risk factors include:

  • Smoking. Whether you smoke cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe, you are six times more likely to contract oral cancer than nonsmokers.
  • Using smokeless tobacco. Chewing tobacco, snuff, or dip makes you 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the lining of the lips, gums, or cheeks.
  • Drinking a lot of alcohol. You are six times more likely to contract oral cancer than nondrinkers.
  • Family history of cancer. If cancer runs in your family, then you are more genetically predisposed.
  • Too much sun. If you have excessive exposure to the sun, especially when you are young, it increases your odds of contracting oral cancer.
  • If you have been diagnosed with HPV (Human Papillomavirus), some strains put you at a higher risk for contracting oral cancer.

It is important to note, however, that 25% of diagnosed cases of oral cancer do occur in nonsmokers and social drinkers.

What Can You Do to Prevent a Diagnosis?

There are some things you can do to lower your risk, such as:

  • Drink alcohol in moderation, and do not smoke or use any tobacco products.
  • Maintain a well-balanced diet.
  • Limit your exposure to the sun, and when you are out in the sun, apply UV-A/B sun blocking products on your skin and lips.

Early Detection is Key

The earlier you see any symptoms, the greater the chance of successful treatment. You can also take an active role in early detection by doing the following:

  • Do a Self Exam Once per Month – Use a bright light and a mirror to examine all the surfaces of your mouth and lips. Feel for lumps and thoroughly look over every part of your mouth, throat, and gums. Check for enlarged lymph nodes in the neck. If you find anything suspicious, contact your health care professional immediately.
  • See your Dentist Regularly – No matter how thorough, you can’t always see everything, so ask your dentist to conduct an exam at your next visit.

Remember, understanding what oral cancer is and how to detect it increases your chances of successful treatment.

 

 

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Understanding Sarcoma Cancer

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Sarcoma is a very rare form of cancer. It is also different from most types of cancer because it occurs and grows in connective tissue. The cancer cells grow in parts of the body that support or connect other types of tissue to the body. While the tumors can appear anywhere, they are most commonly found in the muscles, bones, cartilage, tendons, fat, and nerves. They are also seen in the blood vessels of the legs and the arms. There are over 50 types of sarcoma and they are divided into three categories, bone sarcoma, soft tissue sarcoma, and osteosarcoma.

Who Is At Risk Of Developing Sarcoma?

It is unknown exactly what causes sarcoma, however, there are certain risk factors that make it more likely for people to develop this type of cancer.

  • Radiation exposure: If you had radiation to treat a previous cancer, you are more at risk.
  • Family history: If a member of your family had sarcoma, your chances of getting it are higher.
  • Genetic disorders: Certain genetic disorders such as retinoblastoma, neurofibromatosis, Gardner syndrome, or Li-Fraumeni syndrome put you at greater risk.
  • Bone disorder: If you have the bone disease called Paget’s disease, you are at risk of developing sarcoma.
  • Age: Children and young adults are more prone to developing an osteosarcoma.

What Are the Symptoms of Sarcoma?

In its early stages, sarcoma doesn’t show any symptoms. They can be hard to spot because they can grow anywhere in your body. If it is a soft tissue sarcoma, the first sign would be a painless lump. As it grows larger, it can press against the nerves or muscles causing pain. An osteosarcoma shows symptoms much earlier than the other types. There would be pain in the effected bone that comes and goes. Also, the pain is often worse at night. The area can also swell.

What Is the Treatment For Sarcoma?

How the cancer is treated would depend on the type, where it is located, and whether or not it has spread to other parts of the body. The most common treatments include:

  • Surgery: A doctor can perform surgery and remove the tumor from the body. It is possible for the doctor to remove the cancer cells, therefore, there would be no need for the effected limb to be amputated. If all of the cells cannot be removed, amputation might be your only chance of survivial.
  • Radiation: If surgery isn’t an option, radiation is used. It can also kill any cells left behind after another treatment.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is used either with surgery or if surgery isn’t possible. It is also used if the cancer has spread.
  • Targeted therapies: This is a relatively new treatment and the doctors use man made antibodies from the immune system. They are placed to block the growth of cancer cells without damaging any of the normal cells.

What is the Survival Rate For Someone With Sarcoma?

In most cases, soft tissue sarcoma can be cured with one surgery. If it is an aggressive tumor and the cancer has spread, it can be harder to treat. With osteosarcoma, if the cancer has not spread the survival rate is between 60 and 80 percent. If the cancer can be completely removed with surgery, the chance of a full recovery is excellent. If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, the treatment would need to be more aggressive and the chances of being cured completely are much lower.

Sarcoma is a rare and serious type of cancer. If it is caught early enough, the chances of survival are great.

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What is Colon Cancer?

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Image is from Everyday Health

Colon cancer is the accumulation of cancer cells in the lower part of the large intestine. These tumors typically begin as small benign growths referred to as polyps that turn into malignant tumors over time.

Stages of Colon Cancer

When a patient is diagnosed with colon cancer, they will be diagnosed with a stage of the disease, depending on it advancement. Colon Cancer is broken up into stages Tis to T4b.

  • Tis -In this stage, cancer cells are only found in the top layers on lining in the colon.
  • T1 –At this stage, the cancer cells have begun to spread to the tissue below the lining of the colon.
  • T2 – During stage T2, the cancer cells have developed into the deeper tissue that is involved in pushing along waste during the digestive process.
  • T3 – At T3 the cancer has spread to the connective tissue that connects the colon to other parts of the body, as well as permeating into some of the other surrounding tissues.
  • T4a – At this point the cancer cells have grown throughout all parts of the colon.
  • T4b – At this final stage the cancer cells have spread past the colon into other parts of the body.

What are the Symptoms of Colon Cancer?

Symptoms of colon cancer can come on suddenly or develop gradually over time. Often times symptoms of colon cancer are mistaken for gastrointestinal issues or discomfort. Some symptoms of colon cancer include,

  • Blood in the stool
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Abnormal changes in your bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea that lasts for more than a month
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Fullness in bowel even after going to the bathroom.

Risks for Colon Cancer

While there is no specific cause for every case of colon cancer there are risks that may make you more likely to develop colon cancer.

History of Polyps

While many times polyps are found and easily removed, repeated development of polyps is linked to an increase in colon cancer.

Low Fiber Diet

Low fiber and high fat diets have been linked to an increased chance for developing polyps and colon cancer.

Obesity

Those with a BMI in the obesity level have an increased risk of getting colon cancer as well as an increased risk of suffering more complications from it.

Inflammatory Gastrointestinal Problems

Chronic disease of the gastrointestinal track, including colitis and Crohns disease, can increase the risk of development of colon cancer.

Age

Most colon cancer patients are 50 years of age or older.

Genetics

A family history of colon cancer increases your chance of developing the disease as well. There are also genetically passed conditions that can greatly increase your risk for colon cancer including,

  • Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, otherwise known as lynch syndrome
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis, which leads to an increase of the development of polyps in the colon.

Diagnosing Colon Cancer

Diagnosis of colon cancer is either done through routine screenings that are part of annual physicals or testing when gastrointestinal problems are present. To diagnose colon cancer patients will,

  • Receive blood tests to check for cancer markers
  • Undergo a colonoscopy which involves a camera scope of the patient’s rectum, colon and intestinal track.

Treatment Options

Treatment options for colon cancer are typically determined based on the stage of cancer the patient is in. Treatment options can include,

  • Polyp removal during colonoscopy
  • Partial colectomy
  • Removal of lymph nodes
  • Colon resection
  • Targeted drug therapies
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation treatment

When it comes to treating colon cancer, routine wellness screenings are important as early diagnosis will lead to the best prognosis.

 

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Symptoms of Sarcoma Cancer

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Image is from Sarcoma Foundation of America

Sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that forms in the connective tissues of the bones, tendons, muscles, nerves, cartilage, blood vessels, fat, and other areas within the body. While there are dozens of types of sarcoma cancer, they are typically broken down into two main types, including soft tissue sarcoma and osteosarcoma.

Hard to Detect Sarcoma Cancer

Not only does this type of cancer only affect a small percentage of the population, it also can be extremely difficult to detect. This is because the cancer is not specific to one area of the body, but rather it can be practically anywhere throughout the body. Another issue that makes detection difficult is the fact that the cancer starts to grow in the connective tissues. This allows the tumor to grow undetected for quite some time. This makes it very important to know what the various symptoms of sarcoma cancer are.

Symptoms of Soft Tissue Sarcoma

Unfortunately, most people experience no symptoms during the early stages of sarcoma. As the tumor in the soft tissues grows, it can push against the nearby nerves. This, in turn, can cause a person pain or soreness in the area of the tumor or a shortness of breath. The most common areas affected by soft tissue sarcoma are the knees, legs, shoulders, abdomen, and hips. Other common areas include the arms, hands, head, and neck.

Symptoms of Osteosarcoma

Although adults are not immune to osteosarcoma, it is most common among young adults and children. Like soft tissue sarcoma, osteosarcoma is hard to detect, especially during the early stages. The first sign is bone pain in the area of the cancer. Since, children frequently experience growing pains, this early symptom is often overlooked.

The primary differences between pain associated with osteosarcoma and other types of pain are that the pain usually worsens in the evening and the pain is centralized in just one arm or leg and not both. Within a few weeks of the first sign of pain, you may notice some swelling in the affected area. The pain and swelling may eventually cause a slight limp.

Due to the difficulty of detecting sarcoma cancer, it is extremely important that you discuss any unusual pain with your doctor. A biopsy, ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, and/or bone scan are often used to diagnose sarcoma. In many cases, sarcoma is treated with just surgery, if caught early enough.

 

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Catch the Signs of Cancer Early

Cancer Cells

Image is from Humans Are Free

No matter how healthy you are, it is important to be aware of the early signs and symptoms of cancer. This will enable you to prevent it or treat it as early as possible if you happen to have cancer. Moreover, your doctors can have solid information on your condition. In this way, a more accurate method of cancer treatment can be applied to cure it.

There are many signs and symptoms of cancers you should watch out for. Below are the ones both men and women should take note:

Pain

Pain is the most common symptom in many illnesses. But when it occurs, many people would suspect it to be associated with cancer, especially if the pain is unusual and excruciating.

There are different types of pains you can experience depending upon the type of cancer you have. If you have a brain tumor, you may experience a severe headache all the time. If you have testicular cancer or bone cancer, you will experience the pain right in the beginning stage of these cancers.

Weight Loss

Weight loss has several factors. There are some illnesses that can reduce your appetite for food. As a result, your reduced diet makes you lose weight. However, there are illnesses that can automatically make you lose weight quickly without affecting your diet. The most common of which is cancer.

Cancer consumes a lot of protein. This is because the immune system produces antibodies that also require these proteins. This process inside the body is constant, and it eventually depletes the fats and the protein in the body.

Fatigue

Fatigue is another symptom of cancer. Although it can also be a symptom of other illnesses, the fatigue of a cancer patient can experience is somewhat regular. There are times you feel so stressed you almost would like to vomit. Moreover, you will notice that you easily get tired even during even simple movements.

On the other hand, there are also times you seem so tired even without doing anything. This is probably because your heart pumps more frequently than normal.

Fever

Fever that occurs out of nothing means you have an infection inside your body that is growing and spreading. When your body is being attacked by bacterial or cancer infection, our body naturally fights them. Our immune system uses the available resources we have in our body. As a result, our body seems to feel stressed and weak. This condition also weakens our immune system in the long run, so we tend to suffer from fever.

Skin Degeneration

If you have cancer, your skin degenerates. It gets dry and pale, and you will also notice some moles, marks, or bumps. Your skin texture changes depending on the type of cancer you have. Some cancer patients notice their skin to be yellowish while others become red or hairy.

Sores

Sores do not automatically appear when you suffer from cancer. However, they don’t seem to heal when you accidentally have some. This is also the same case with diabetes. The reason behind it is that your antibodies are busy fighting the cancer cells. As a result, less and less antibodies are assigned to heal the sores.

Conclusion

Symptoms may vary from one person to another. In addition, some symptoms may be associated with another illness. Furthermore, every symptom has different levels or degrees of severity. The above signs and symptoms may help you determine whether or not you suffer from cancer. Nevertheless, it is recommended you consult your doctor if you experience such early signs and symptoms.

 

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Radiation Therapy

Radiation-Therapy

Image is from MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital

If there is one illness that many people are afraid of, it’s cancer. This is because cancer is one of the most fatal illnesses that is hard to treat. Moreover, there is really no definite treatment for it yet.

Although chemotherapy is the most popular treatment for cancer, there is still no guaranty it can cure all types of cancer. This is why another type of treatment has been developed to treat cancer. This treatment is called radiation therapy.

Radiation Therapy Explained

Radiation therapy is the use of radiation such as gamma rays and X-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. This happens with the help of three types of radiation therapy such as:

  • External-Beam Radiation Therapy
  • Internal Radiation Therapy or Brachytherapy
  • Systemic Radiation

External-Beam Radiation Therapy

This type of radiation therapy is done with the use of a radiation machine. The machine is similar to the X-ray machine will release its charged particles through a beam radiation. The radiation will penetrate the cancer-infected area from outside the body.

Internal Radiation

Internal radiation, on the other hand, is the method of directly placing the radioactive materials in the area around cancer cells. The process is a bit complicated, but it can be more potent.

Systemic Radiation

Meanwhile, systemic radiation treatment is the use of radioactive substances that can move through the blood to reach the areas with cancer cells. This works like a regular medicine in the sense that the substances are absorbed into the blood stream. An example of a radioactive substance is radioactive iodine.

How Does Radiation Therapy Work Against Cancer?

Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by damaging cell DNA. This also can happen by creating free radicals within the cells that kills the cancer as well.

Does Radiation Therapy Kill Other Cells?

The drawback in using radiation therapy is that it kills not only the cancer cells but also other cells nearby. This problem causes side effects depending on which cells are damaged as the result of killing cancer cells. Nevertheless, our tissues have a certain level of tolerance against radiation. It’s your doctor who will determine such levels before this treatment is performed.

Why Is Radiation Therapy Needed?

Radiation therapy is a powerful treatment against cancer. It’s so strong that other cells may also be sacrificed in the process. Nonetheless, the result is significant. It’s needed when the purpose is to completely eliminate the cancer. This means radiation therapy is used for curative intent, and it can also be used for palliative care to shrink tumors.

On the other hand, radiation therapy can also be applied along with chemotherapy. It can also be used for curative intent, control treatment, and palliative care at the same time.

How Is Radiation Therapy Scheduled?

Before radiation therapy is scheduled, your oncologist will ask you to undergo several tests such as CT scans, MRI, PET, and ultrasounds. All such tests will determine the location and the position of cancer infections inside the body. Once identified, radiation therapy will be applied in the target areas.

Conclusion

Radiation therapy may be much stronger than chemotherapy. However, there are risks involved as the radiation can also damage other non-cancer cells. Radiation therapy is ideal for curative intent as it requires patients to be much healthier and tolerant against certain radioactive materials and substances.

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