1. What is radiotherapy used for?
Radiotherapy is used to kill cancerous cells and destroy the genetic material of cancer cells that controls cell growth and cell division.
2. Is radiotherapy similar to chemotherapy?
No, radiotherapy is not similar to chemotherapy. Radiotherapy aims and affects only the part of the body that is being treated, whereas chemotherapy usually exposes the whole body to anti-cancer drugs. However, radiotherapy can be given along with chemotherapy.
3. Is radiotherapy painful?
No, radiotherapy is not painful. Instead, it relieves the pain that is caused by the disease. Radiotherapy works by killing cancer cells that produce tumours; this can reduce the pain caused by the tumour.
4. What are the side effects of radiotherapy?
The side effects depend on the region being treated, such as in the:
Abdomen - nausea, vomiting
Pelvis - sexual dysfunction, diarrhoea and frequent urination
Other parts of the body - hair loss may occur at the treatment site
Head, neck and chest - dry mouth, difficulty in swallowing, tooth decay, cough, shortness of breath, etc.
5. How long does a radiotherapy session last?
Radiotherapy takes about 10 minutes, and the treatment is usually delivered daily to treat cancer.