Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment in which high-energy X-rays or particles are used to kill cancer cells.

Although radiation therapy is rarely used to treat colon cancer, it is employed in a few circumstances, such as:

  • It is used before surgery, in conjunction with chemotherapy, to reduce the tumour and make it easier to remove.
  • Radiation is utilised during surgery to eliminate any cancer cells that may remain after the tumour has been removed. Intraoperative radiation treatment is the term for this procedure.
  • If the cancer has spread to an organ or the stomach lining, radiation therapy may be used to destroy the cancer cells that remain after surgery.
  • A person who is not healthy enough for surgery is given radiation coupled with chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy is also used to treat advanced cancer symptoms such as intestinal obstruction, bleeding, and pain.
  • If the disease has progressed to other parts of the body, such as the brain or lungs, radiation therapy is utilised.

Different Kinds of Radiation

Colon cancer can be treated with a variety of various methods of radiation therapy

External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT)

It is the most commonly utilised type of radiation to treat colon and rectal malignancies. The radiation is targeted from outside the body by a machine in this sort of radiation. The amount of radiation given is determined by a variety of factors. Radiation is normally administered over a few days.

Internal ionising radiation

Some rectal tumours are treated with this type of radiation. A radioactive source is inserted into the rectum next to or within the tumour for this type of treatment. This allows the radiation to reach the rectum without travelling through the skin and other tissues of the abdomen, reducing the risk of injury to other tissues.

Radioembolization

During embolization, which is when substances are injected into the person's blood arteries to try to block or limit blood flow to the cancer cells in the liver, radiation is delivered. This treatment enables surgeons to treat metastatic cancers in the liver while minimising damage to the liver's healthy portions.

Side effects of Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy, like any other treatment, has side effects, and it is critical to speak with a doctor about the potential side effects and how long they will last before receiving radiation.

  • Radiation caused skin inflammation at the treatment location. Redness, blistering, and peeling are all symptoms of irritation.
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Erection problems in males and vaginal discomfort in women are examples of sexual issues.
  • Stool leaking is another name for bowel incontinence.
  • Bladder irritation can cause frequent toilet visits, as well as burning, soreness, or blood in the pee.
  • Nausea
  • Constipation, painful bowel motions, or blood in the stool are all symptoms of rectal irritation.
  • Fibrosis, scarring, and adhesions are conditions in which treated tissues stay together.

The majority of side effects will fade with time and once the treatment is completed. If a person develops adverse effects, he or she should seek medical advice on how to alleviate or lessen the symptoms.