This is an essay on radiotherapy. Since the discovery of X-rays over one hundred years ago, radiation has been used increasingly in medicine both to help with diagnosis (by taking pictures with X-rays), and as a treatment (radiotherapy).
Since the discovery of X-rays over one hundred years ago, radiation has been used increasingly in medicine both to help with diagnosis (by taking pictures with X-rays), and as a treatment (radiotherapy). While there is increasing concern about the dangers of radiation, doctors now have great experience in its use in medicine, and, when used properly, the risks are small and are greatly outweighed by the benefits.
The prospect of radiotherapy is daunting for most patients. They often arrive in the department distressed by their diagnosis and unsure about the effects of radiation treatment. Common misconceptions include the belief that radiotherapy inevitably causes sickness, hair-loss and burning of the skin. Professionals need to rapidly remove these fears and worries, and encourage the patient to see radiotherapy as a positive contribution towards their recovery
Most patients will have very little knowledge about their radiotherapy treatment when they begin. It is important that they are given written information to read. This information should enable patients to understand about their treatment and how they should take care of themselves, both during and after treatment.
During my radiotherapy I became very emotional. I would start crying for no reason.’ This is how one woman reacted. Another described herself as being `very weepy’, not during the treatment but a couple of weeks afterwards. Many people who have radiotherapy, or any treatment for cancer shares these emotions. You have to try to come to terms not only with the illness itself, but also with the treatments and possible side effects.
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