Complications of radiation therapy

 Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy – a form of exposure to cancers and other tumors, non-oncology, in which the main influencing factor is ionizing (radioactive) radiation. This treatment process is carried out with the help of special devices, which serve as a source of generation of radioactive rays.

Generally, cancer cells can not tolerate exposure to ionizing radiation and are dying. Treatment takes place in several stages, sometimes the tumor is irradiated from several sides. At the same time the main task of doctors is to maintain healthy tissues from the adverse effects of radioactive rays. Still, ionizing radiation can not be considered completely safe, because in the course of such effects often develop complications of radiotherapy.

In most cases, complications of this treatment depends on the state of the irradiated tissue, and radiation dose. They come in early and late. Immediately after irradiation (sometimes during therapy) early complications arise. If there are complications of systemic nature, such as severe fatigue, the malaise runs independently, without interfering with further radiotherapy. But local complications are more serious. They are usually expressed by redness of the skin (erythema), up to exfoliation, weeping or erosion. This is due to a violation of the irradiated tissue regeneration.

Initially, the impact of radiation therapy causes redness, itching, swelling of the exposed tissue. These phenomena resemble a burn. However, thermal injuries from radiation burns are characterized in that manifest immediately, but after some time. Of course, the severity and duration of the rehabilitation of burn recovery depend on the location of the tumor, radiation intensity, depth and area of ​​influence.

Early acute burn skin lesions are divided into three main types. In the first case the skin is red, swollen, scaly. It is a dry epidermis. The second type of skin begins to itch, turn red, swollen badly. Such a condition is called erythema. The third type is characterized by the emergence of a large number of papules, fluid-filled with a mixture of pus. It is called the epidermis moist.

In the case of irradiation of the abdomen or pelvis early complications manifest themselves gastrointestinal disorders expressed in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dysphagia. Irradiation of the neck and head lead to inflammation of the pharynx, the mucous membranes of the oral cavity. The irradiation of a large amount of bone marrow can disrupt the process of hematopoiesis occur anemia, thrombocytopenia or leukopenia. If you notice any serious effects of radiation therapy is recommended for a period of interrupted treatment for recovery of irradiated tissue.

Late complications of radiation therapy appear after a certain time after treatment. This can happen in a few months or even years. Generally, late complications arise from the maximum dose of radiation exposure received by the body tissues. And with the presence of early complications of their development is in no way connected. It is believed that the duration of the recovery period depends on the volume of irradiated tissue, the degree of destruction of the endothelium (inner cell surface of blood and lymphatic vessels) and the number of surviving in this period stem cells. In the absence of stem cells, where it is impossible their replacement by the surrounding tissue, radiation injuries remain for a long period.

It is noted that even after many years of exposure to radiation on the ground observed the following negative effects: edema, or fibrosis of the skin surface, radiation dermatitis, ulcers. For such effects of radiation therapy requires constant care, which requires serious attention, regular hygiene procedures. Usually applied to the affected areas podsushivayuschee funds.

Of course, during radiation therapy should comply with all recommendations of the physician radiologist. Responsible execution of his orders will result in the rapid recovery of the skin, prevent complications, provide a speedy recovery. Take care of yourself!