There are several different ways in order to administer Radiation Therapy.
•External beam which is the most used for majority of treatments. The machine used to produce the external beam radiation is called a linear accelerator.
•Brachytherapy (internal radiation therapy) uses radioactive materials such as Cesium(Cs 137), Iridium (Ir-192) or gold (Au-198). The use of brachytherapy allows for the radioactive material to be placed next to or directly into the tumor.
Linear Accelerator Brachytherapy
for "external radiation" for "internal radiation"
Different types of brachytherapy techniques
•Interstitial: radioactive sources are place directly into the tumor (ex-prostate seed implants)
•Intracavitary: placing the source in a body cavity such as cases for treatment of cervical or endometrial cancers
•Interluminal: radioactive material is placed within a body tube such as the esophagus or bronchial tree.
*Interstitial brachytherapy of the neck
Radiation also plays a role in palliation(relieves symptoms).
- For example, bone metastasis. If this condition is left untreated, the patient could experience a great deal of pain and is at risk for bone fractures.
* With radiation therapy, it would relieve the pain and prevent bone fractures.
- Lastly if a tumor is pressing on a nerve or blocking an air way, radiation therapy can shrink the tumor to relieve the patient of any discomfort or problems they may have had from the tumor.