Asked by Charlotte, Southport, Connecticut
Is it possible -- in some cases -- to get a second round of radiation? When I had it 25 years ago I was told that this is once-in-a-lifetime treatment, yet a friend of mine is scheduled for a second round.
Dr. Otis Brawley
Chief Medical Officer,
American Cancer Society
Dear Charlotte: X-ray radiation like that used to take a chest X-ray is used in very high doses by a radiation oncologist to treat cancer. What's important is how it is aimed from the radiation therapy machine and what dose of radiation is given. The dose of absorbed radiation is calculated in units called centigray.
Radiation therapy is a wonderful tool used to treat and often cure many cancers when the cancer is localized to one place in the body. In select cases, radiation therapy can be used a second time in the same patient. If cancer is being treated in a different area of the body, this is an easy question. Each organ can receive a limited amount of radiation before it is permanently damaged by radiation, and each type of cancer needs a certain amount of radiation for cure.
Questions that must be asked by the radiation oncologist planning the therapy include: "Is the same area of the body being irradiated as was irradiated before?" "How much radiation was given to that site before and how much radiation is needed to kill this second particular cancer?" The physician will want to get records of the previous radiation, and the decision to radiate a second time frequently requires computer simulation (radiation planning).
|Most Viewed||Most Emailed||Top Searches|
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.
The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Please consult a physician or medical professional for personal medical advice or treatment.