Mesothelioma radiation therapy is one of the treatments used most often to alleviate symptoms of lung cancer caused by repeated exposure to mesothelioma. Frequently, radiation therapy is used in conjunction with chemotherapy and surgery as an aggressive form of treatment for those suffering from late-stage mesothelioma. Rarely is this kind of cancer detected early enough to be treated successfully with only one treatment, since symptoms may not appear until it has metastasized.
Radiation therapy is used for all types of cancer and involves utilizing energy particles to eradicate shrink tumors and eradicate abnormal cancer cells. Radiation is also sometimes used before cancer cells appear but the risk of developing cancer is high in a certain organ or area of the body. By targeting the DNA of cancer cells, radiation effectively destroys these cells and prevents them from reproducing. This is accomplished by breaking the strands constituting the DNA double helix. Because radiation therapy is extremely potent, some healthy cells are damaged in the process of eliminating mesothelioma cancer cells, which is why individuals suffer from side effects like nausea, fatigue, hair loss and weight loss when undergoing mesothelioma radiation therapy.
While the most common type of radiation therapy used in treating mesothelioma is the external kind, other types are also used, such as systemic, internal and stereotactic radiosurgery. Systemic radiation involves injection or oral administration of a radioactive substance which is then allowed to spread throughout the body. Brachytherapy, or internal radiation, is less frequently used and employs placing a small capsule or tube of radioactive material into the area where the cancer is located, usually the lungs or stomach.
Stereotactic radiosurgery is generally utilized when treating brain tumors but it has also been used on tumors elsewhere in the body. By focusing a precise, highly intense radiation beam directed at an area of cancer cells or tumors, it attempts to eliminate anything left over after surgery has been performed to remove cancer. Mesothelioma patients interested in stereotactic radiosurgery should consult with their doctor about the possibility of involving this non-invasive procedure in their treatment plan.