Cancer remains the leading cause of death in the world. Nearly 10 million people had succumbed to cancer in 2020, according to the World Health Organization.
Despite this record, the medicine industry never continuously works on researching highly effective, affordable, and widely available cancer treatment.
In fact, the approval of cancer prescription medicine called Lumakras is one of the latest cancer treatment breakthroughs in 2021. This drug can treat non-small cell lung cancer and other tumours in pancreatic and colorectal cancers.
With cancer treatment breakthroughs, many people still rely on radiation therapy for cancer treatment. Most cancer procedures available in many countries, such as breast cancer treatment in Singapore, still rely on radiation. Continue reading this article to learn more about radiation therapy.
When we hear the word radiation, we instantly think about the radioactive nuclear bombs or nuclear power plants that can pose a health threat when handled and managed incorrectly.
However, radiation has been used in the medical industry for a long time already. In fact, common imaging tests such as x-ray and CT scans use radiation. It has also been used in cancer treatments, such as brachytherapy in Singapore, and encountering a Mount Elizabeth radiation doctor is not very surprising in the country.
Radiation is an energy that can penetrate various materials. Light is an example of radiation. Radiation that has the highest energy includes x-rays and ultraviolet rays.
To understand how radiation can treat cancer, let us discuss what cancer is.
Cancer is a disease that starts with the uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells in nearly any part of the body. These cells can multiply and form a tumour. A tumour can be cancerous or non-cancerous. These abnormal cells can also invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. This process is called metastasis.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy waves to destroy these abnormal or cancer cells. Radiation damages the DNA inside the abnormal or cancer cells, preventing them from multiplying and spreading.
There are several ways to treat cancer. For example, chemotherapy uses an anti-cancer drug as part of cancer treatment. Breast cancer treatment in Singapore may include surgeries like lumpectomy and mastectomy to remove cancerous tumours or completely remove the affected breast. On the other hand, radiotherapy and brachytherapy in Singapore use radiation to eliminate cancer.
Each cancer case is different. It requires different and sometimes combinations of these treatments to successfully end cancer.
Although radiation therapies are effective cancer treatment, especially in shrinking cancerous tumours, radiation also has side effects. It is because radiation affects abnormal and normal cells in the body. That is why it is necessary to consult a radiation oncologist in Singapore to determine which cancer treatment is the most suitable for you.
Because of the negative impacts of radiotherapy and brachytherapy in Singapore on the body, it is essential to take care of your health.
Radiation indeed impacts healthy cells and living tissues. However, the specialists that give radiation therapies, such as radiation oncologists, radiation physicists, dosimetrist, radiation therapy technologists, and radiation therapy nurses, are highly knowledgeable, trained, and skilled in handling radiation.
Patients do not have to worry because their Mount Elizabeth radiation doctor understands the effect of radiation and knows how to work around it safely.
What patients can do to reduce the negative impacts of radiation on their health is by keeping their bodies well and healthy
Unfortunately, cancer treatments weaken our immune system. On top of that, it is normal to feel exhaustion and fatigue after treatment.
One effective way to strengthen the immune system and regain strength is to supply your body with healthy and nutritious food.
Firstly, fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals, essential in keeping the immune system effective. On top of that, fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals speed up ageing and can aggravate cancer cells.
Secondly, protein from meat helps repair the damaged tissues in the body. Rebuilding your tissue is necessary, especially if you are receiving brachytherapy in Singapore.
Lastly, carbohydrates are the fuel of the body. Cancer patients normally take strong anti-cancer medications. Carbohydrates fuels the organs that process and absorb these medications. Carbohydrates also provide our daily energy.
Breast cancer treatment in Singapore that uses external radiation therapy may experience irritation. Also, the skin receives the initial radiation waves as it penetrates the body. That is why taking care of skin is essential.
Use mild soap and warm water when washing the skin. Pat the skin dry instead of rubbing it.
Wear loose and soft clothes. Do not scratch, pinch, and scrub the skin. Ask your radiation oncologist in Singapore if you are allowed to shave. Lastly, use sunscreen or protect your skin from the sun as it is sensitive to light and burns.
People who undergo brachytherapy in Singapore have a weaker immune system. It means that they are susceptible to viral and bacterial infections.
Keeping the house clean every day and all the items used by the patient sterilised help the risk of contracting viruses and diseases causing bacterias.
On top of that, virus transmission is higher in public and crowded places such as public transport, malls, parks, and cinemas. As much as possible, avoid these areas to prevent contracting viruses. Practise frequent hand washing as well.
Ask your Mount Elizabeth radiation doctor for further instructions.
As much as possible, take your medicine as directed by a radiation oncologist in Singapore. Usually, these medications are antibiotics and painkillers to manage the side effects of the therapy.
Attending follow-up checkups is important as your Mount Elizabeth radiation doctor evaluates the progress and effectiveness of treatment. Your doctor can include, exclude, or change the treatment based on their assessment. You can also tell your doctor about the side effects of the medication.
Cancer is beatable. The drastic innovation and discovery in medicine give us the advantage of this beatable disease. Never hesitate to get cancer treatment, be it surgery, chemotherapy, or brachytherapy in Singapore, as they increase the survival rate.
Dr Johann Tang provides cancer treatments in Singapore. Book an appointment with Dr Johann Tang.