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3 Things To Know Before You Begin Systemic Radiation Therapy

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If you were recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer, your doctor may recommend radiation treatments to eliminate the cancerous cells. There are several types of radiation you can get for this, but a common type used to treat thyroid cancer is called systemic radiation therapy. This type of therapy is administered by a radiation specialist, and there are several important things you should know before you begin this particular type of radiation therapy.

The Basics Of Systemic Radiation

The most common form of radiation used to treat cancer is called external radiation therapy. This is the type that is administered to a person at a hospital, clinic, or outpatient facility. It typically takes around 30 minutes for it to be administered, and it works by targeting the cancerous cells through a beam of radiation aimed through the body at the affected cells.

Systemic radiation is very different from this, and it is only used to treat certain types of cancer, including thyroid cancer. It is administered in the form of medication, and the medication is radioactive. A common radioactive medication used during systemic radiation is iodine 131. A radiation specialist gives the medication through an injection or orally, and it is designed to kill cancerous cells in the body.

The Dangers To Your Family

Systemic radiation is not only different with the way it is administered, but it is also different in the way it works in your body. Because you are actually placing a radioactive ingredient inside your body, there are risks for people that are around you after you have taken the medication. The risks are highest right after you take the medicine, and they tend to decrease as time passes by and the ingredient works its way out of your body.

If you are going to have systemic radiation, there are several precautions you should take to ensure that no one that is around you is harmed by the radiation you are carrying around. After you take the radioactive medication, your body will absorb some of it. The rest of it will pass through you, and it will work its way out, and this can occur through your urine, sweat, or saliva. In fact, it can pass to others through any type of bodily fluid, including urine, semen, or vaginal discharge.

You can prevent others from being exposed to the radioactive ingredients by taking the following steps:

  • Keep others away from you – If possible, do not leave your house. Stay in one room if you can, and try to keep contact to a minimum with everyone.
  • Be extremely cautious with all bodily fluids – The best way to prevent spreading the radiation to others is to keep your bodily fluids contained. In other words, use your own bathroom and do not let anyone else use it. You should also avoid sexual intercourse, sharing food or drinks, and any other activities that could expose your bodily fluids to others.

Time Frame For Taking These Precautions

If you are getting ready to have systemic radiation, you should fully understand that you will really only need to take special precautions for a few days. After this, the chances of exposing others to radioactive ingredients is minimal. At that point, you should make sure sanitize your bathroom and any kitchen utensils you used during that time simply to protect the other people in your home. You should also realize that if you have to repeat the radiation, you should begin taking the precautions once again.

Radiation therapy is often very effective for treating cancer, and this is why it is used so often. If you would like to learn more about the different forms of radiation available today, contact a radiation specialist at a clinic like Provision Center For Proton Therapy.