Radiation Therapy | What is Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy

        Destroys the cancer cells’ ability to grow; also destroys normal cells

Uses Of Radiation Therapy

  • Before surgery to shrink the tumor
  • After surgery to stop the growth of the remaining tumor or to prevent a recurrence
  • In conjunction with chemotherapy to shrink the tumor

Types of Radiation Therapy

External Radiation

Internal Radiation

Types of External Radiation Therapy

  • Conformal radiotherapy.
  • Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)
  • Image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT)
  • 4-dimensional radiotherapy (4D-RT)
  • Stereotactic radiotherapy (SABR) and radiosurgery (SRS)
  • Adaptive radiotherapy.

External Radiation

The client must lie still on the x-ray table.

The client will be marked with water-soluble ink to define the area of treatment; do not wash the marks off.

External Radiation Side Effects

Anorexia, nausea, and vomiting

Skin irritation

Some hair loss

Instruct The Patient to:-

Not to apply soap, deodorant, lotion, perfume, or topical medication to skin

To avoid extreme heat and cold to the skin

To avoid rubbing the area

Wear loose clothes

To use an electric shaver, not safety razor

To wear a sunscreen 

If a “wet” reaction occurs, wash with water  and keep open, and can use antibiotic cream

Internal Radiation Therapy

Internal Radiation Therapy Types

  1. Brachytherapy
  2. Radioisotope therapy
  3. Radioimmunotherapy
  4. Radioembolization

1. Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy places a sealed container of a radioactive substance directly into a tumor (called an implant)

Types of Brachytherapy Implants

Interstitial brachytherapy

Intracavitary brachytherapy

Intraluminary brachytherapy

Plaque brachytherapy or surface brachytherapy

Types of Brachytherapy

High dose brachytherapy (HDR)

Low dose brachytherapy (LDR)

2. Radioisotope therapy or Radionuclide Therapy

Radioisotope therapy travels through the blood to reach cells all over the body

3. Radioimmunotherapy

Radioimmunotherapy combines radiation therapy with monoclonal antibodies, a type of immunotherapy. Monoclonal antibodies specifically target cancer cells

4. Radioembolization

It combines radiation therapy with embolization.  It gives radiation directly to tumours using tiny radioactive beads (called microspheres)

Internal Radiation – Important Points to Remember

  • Can be implanted into a body cavity or directly into the tumor
  • Might require the use of a private room with lead walls
  •  Limit the number of staff/visitors and time in the room.
  • Might require body excretion precautions
  •   If the radiation source falls out:

a. Do not touch it with bare hands.

b. Pick it up with long forceps and place them in a  lead container that should be in the client’s room.

  • Limit radiation exposure.

a. Keep your distance; radiation exposure is decreased with distance.

b. Limit the time of exposure; radiation is cumulative

Emotional Support

A. Coping with the loss of health or body part

B. Encourage clients and families to verbalize feelings.

 C. Support services

A. Coping with the loss of health or body part

1. Denial: characterized by shock, disbelief, isolation, and detachment

2. Anger: the client might try to control the situation 

by becoming demanding; asks “Why me?”

3. Bargaining: client will bargain for time by making promises, usually to God, in an attempt to postpone the inevitable

4. Depression: sadness overwhelms as the impact of the loss becomes real

5. Acceptance: characterized by a void in feeling and by diminished communication or disengagement from worldly concerns; loved ones need support at this time

 Support services

a. Provides palliative and supportive care to terminally ill persons and their families

b. Primary medical concern is pain control and comfort measures.

c. Emphasis on emotional support

Nursing Diagnoses Related to 
Chemotherapy and Radiation

  • The risk for activity intolerance
  •  Anxiety
  •  Disturbed body image
  •  Risk for caregiver role strain
  •  Risk for infection 
  • Nausea 
  • Impaired oral mucus membrane 
  • Powerlessness
  • Risk for impaired skin integrity

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