Spine Cancer Radiation Treatment Options
Spine-cancer-radiation-treatment through WorldMed Assist is affordable through our partnerships with state of the art hospitals in the US and abroad. Medically trained case managers provide patient advocacy to ensure you receive the best medical care available for your procedure. Hospitals, officially recognized accreditation agencies such as JCAHO and the Joint Commission International (JCI), are thoroughly investigated prior to selection. Your procedure, including travel to and from the destination hospital, is managed by registered nurses from beginning to conclusion, guaranteeing you the optimum experience.
Most importantly, we provide you with a personal touch from start until well after your return home.
Spine Cancer Radiation Treatment
Radiation therapy is a procedure that is commonly used in treating spinal cancer.
This type of treatment uses high energy radiation beams in order to destroy malignant spinal tumors while minimizing damage to healthy cells that lie nearby.
Sometimes radiation therapy is used for the purpose of shrinking a growth prior to surgery or after surgery in order to relieve pain.
It may be combined with other forms of therapy such as hormone therapy, but it is frequently used as the sole method of treatment with great success.
Especially in spinal tumor cases, radiation therapy may be combined with a radiosensitizer.
This is a type of drug that causes the cancer cells to be hypersensitive to radiation.
This is done by decreasing the level of oxygen available to the cancer cells.
The combination of these methods often yields positive results.
However, most standard forms of spine cancer radiation treatment cause damage to normal cells as well.
Are there any special considerations in cases involving spinal tumors?
Before a spine cancer radiation treatment therapy can be prescribed, health care specialists must make a thorough consideration of the patient’s overall spinal condition.
They will evaluate several factors including the nature of the tumor, previous spinal disorders, and any bone/spinal cord deficiencies.
Because the spine is affected by locomotion, the patient must remain very still during radiation therapy sessions.
For this reason, physicians may construct a body mold or other device to keep the patient still during treatment.
The spine is also located near many organs, and so sometimes radiation shields may be built into the body to protect internal organs.
As treatment progresses, a doctor may choose to make modifications to enhance the success of the sessions.
These may include changing the dosages administered in each session, or changing the frequency with which the radiation is applied.
The entire procedure may last anywhere from several weeks to a number of months.
What are the side effects of spine cancer radiation treatment?
The majority of radiation therapy clients experience some sort of radiation treatment side effects.
Some side effects commonly associated with radiation treatments are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Gastrointestinal discomfort and digestion issues
- Skin irritation where exposed to radiation fields
- Fatigue and cognitive challenges
- Tissue damage and bleeding
- Hair loss
The experience of side effects will vary from case to case depending on the location of the tumor and the overall vitality of the patient.
Symptoms can be minimized through additional measures such as prescription medications.
For some spinal tumor patients, radiation therapy leads to a loss of nerve function and sensitivity near the spine that may affect other areas of the body.
Recovery from the entire procedure usually takes several weeks or months, during which time patients typically recover normal nerve functioning.
What are some less invasive alternatives to radiation therapy?
Spinal tumor treatments are a delicate process, and the accuracy of the radiation beams is crucial in optimizing effects.
Several newer technologies have been developed to increase the accuracy of radiation treatments.
One such development is the Cyberknife treatment.
Cyberknife treatments utilize the body’s skeletal structure to create a complex set of reference points, somewhat like a blueprint, in order to maximize accuracy.
Cyberknife also uses a robotic arm to aim the high energy beams from many different angles to ensure that the tumor is completely bombarded with the radiation dosages.
As mentioned, avoiding nerve damage is a critical part of spinal tumor radiation treatments, and Cyberknife procedures are very useful in achieving consistently accurate results.