Chemo vs. Radiation

The difference between chemo and radiation

People suffering from cancer receive one of two types of treatment – chemo or radiation. Depending on the specific type of cancer they have been diagnosed with, it is possible that they will receive both kinds of treatment. Chemo, which is the shortened form of chemotherapy, is the treatment given for solid tumors that affect different organs of the body, such as breast cancer or bowel cancer.  It is usually given before surgery to try to shrink the tumor and after surgery, its purpose is to kill any cancer cells that remain.  Chemo can also be administered at the same time as radiation to speed up the process of eradicating the tumors and cancer cells.

Radiation is the other type of treatment designed to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Gamma rays, X-ray and charged particles are used in radiation treatment, which can be both internal and external. At some stage in the progression of cancer, about 50% of the patients in the world receive radiation as a treatment for the disease. It is generally applied to cancerous tumors that spread easily and through radiation they shrink and are not able to spread to other organs. It is also administered to ease the pain of patients who are suffering from specific types of cancer, such as bone cancer.

Thousands of people all over the world are cured of cancer each year through radiation and chemo treatments. In cases where the cancer is in curable, the fact that these treatments do shrink the size of the tumors enables them to live longer. Although the results they produce are similar, they are different in the manner in which they are administered and in the way they work inside the body.

Chemo is administered through the bloodstream to destroy cancer cells. Along with doing this, chemo also destroys healthy cells and this can cause a deficiency in the patient’s immune system. The way in which it does attack cancer cells is that it damages the DNA of the cell so it cannot continue to grow and it cannot redevelop. This form of cancer treatment is generally used to treat cancers in the ovaries, lungs, breasts, and bowels as well as leukemia, lymphoma, and mveloma. There are also medications involved in chemotherapy.

Radiation treatment is a better treatment than chemo, but it is mainly used for bone cancer and tumors in the spine and skin, but it can be used for some types of ovarian and breast cancer. It can cause effects on the body that do not show up until later. Two of the side effects associated with radiation are burning of the skin and inflammation.

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