Jumat, 06 Januari 2012

Special Care for Radiation Cancer Treatment

Radiation is one of the basic cancer treatments other than surgery and chemotherapy. Radiation's purpose is to destroy cancer tissues with minimal exposure of the unaffected or normal cells and tissues. The cells that are damaged by the radiation process either dead or become incapable of dividing.

Usually, radiation therapy as a cancer treatment utilizes ionizing radiation which uses radium and cobalt compounds. Radiation therapy includes teletherapy and brachytherapy. Teletherapy is considered as a "distant" radiation cancer treatment. The radiation source is external or outside of the client. A patient is not considered radioactive and poses no exposure to anyone after teletherapy cancer treatment. On the other hand, brachytherapy is known as the "close" or "short" radiation cancer treatment. It uses radioactive isotopes and direct contacts the tumor cells for a specific amount of time. The radiation source is inside the client. Patients are hazardous to others for a certain period of time since they emit radiation.

Special care should be provided to patients who received either teletherapy or brachytherapy. For patients receiving teletherapy, the nurses and the patient himself should avoid removing or washing off the port marks. The marks are used as guide for the separate teletherapy sessions. It is important to accurately 'target' the cancer areas. Nurse should assess the patient's skin for erythema. Soaps, creams, perfumes, powders and even deodorants should not be used during the treatment period as they can aggravate inevitable erythema and initiate some kind of skin irritation. As the skin is more sensitive during the radiation cancer treatment, protection from sunlight is also important. Aside from putting on sunscreen, clients are encouraged to use loose clothing made of cotton. For washing the patient's clothes, gentle detergents should be used to, again, avoid skin irritation. Sources of heat, cold and salt water are avoided as well. During the treatment period, hair shaving should be avoided too. When applying dressing to the areas of skin breakdown, non-adhesive material should be used.

Another imperative care to consider is to reassure other people that the patient will not become a source of radiation. With regards to the brachytherapy, doctors need to explain the procedure and the probable side effects. And the patients need some sort of isolation. Children and pregnant women should be restricted from visiting. It is essential to check the implant regularly for proper positioning. For patients and their nurses, it is important to understand some simple fact about the radiation cancer treatment to make it more effective and avoid harmful effects.

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