When is radiation therapy treatment used?
Primary: only treatment, aim is a cure
Adjuvant: pre or post-op to destroy cancer cells or along with chemo
Palliative: control symptoms, especially pain
Destroys cancer cells with minimal exposure of normal cells to damaging effects of radiation
Effective on tissue directly within the path of the radiation beam
What is teletherapy?
Intensity: modulated radiation therapy
Stereotactic body radiotherapy
What is brachytherapy?
Internal-radioactive material placed directly into or near the tumor itself
Sealed source: patient emits radiation for time and hazardous
Unsealed source: systemic (IV or oral), excretions hazard too
What is the preparation for radiation?
Determine tumor extent
Define goal of therapy-currative or pallative
Select appropiate therapy
Define optimal dose
Simulation and treatment planning
Therapy M-F, lasts only a very short amount of time
What are acute adverse effects of radiation?
Fatigue and malise
Skin and hair: may develop a reach as soon as 2 weeks into therapy, alopecia
GI effects: N/V, diarrhea and esophagitis
Oral: change in taste, mucositis, dryness and xerostomia
Pulmonary: dyspnea, productive cough and radiation pneumonitis
Renal/Bladder: cystitis and urethritis
CV: damage to vasculature of organs, thrombosis
Bone marrow suppression
What are site specific effects of radiation?
Brain: memory los, poor cold tolerance, decrease sexual desire, unsteady gait, vision changes
Lung: decrease surfactant, SOB, cough, fibrosis, decrease exercise tolerance
Digestive tract: N/V, decrease appetite, difficulty swallowing, pain, diarrhea, irritablility, inflammation
Reproductive: decrease fertility, early menopause, scarred uterus
What should skin care be like during radiation?
Wash gently with mild soap and water daily
Use a hand hygiene instead of washcloth
Be sure to protect marking and do not remove
Dry by patting, not rubbing
Do not use any powders, lotions, ointments on radiation site that are not prescribed
Wear soft clothing
Avoid exposure to sun and heat
How do you care for one with sealed radiation?
Care provider wear dosimeter and should not be in direct care for more then 30 minutes/shift
No pregnant care providers or visitors
Visitors for only 30 visitors per day, stay 6 feet from patient
No children under 16 visit
Linens and dressings stay in room until patient is discharged then disposed of in usual manner.