Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is the medical use of ionizing radiation, the use of high energy x-rays and similar rays such as electrons to treat disease, is major component of treatment for many people with cancer to control malignant cells. It can be given either as external radiotherapy from outside the body using x-rays or from within the body as internal radiotherapy (brachytherapy). Rapid technological developments and patient choices are driving changes in the way treatment services should be administered. As part of cancer control and care services improvement, Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) management provides radiotherapy services for both Tanzanians as well as for foreign citizens.

A larger majority of cancer patients attending at ORCI and are treated mostly by the radiation method as we consider radiotherapy to be one of the most important methods of cancer treatment.Radiotherapy works by destroying cancer cells in the treated area. Although normal cells can also be damaged by the radiotherapy, they usually repair themselves. Radiotherapy treatment cures some cancers and can also reduce the chance of a cancer coming back after surgery. It may also be used to reduce cancer symptoms.

We often use radiotherapy for curative or palliative intent for a broad range of cancer types. This is internationally accepted, and researches have indicated that at least 50% of cancer patients will require radiotherapy at least once during their illness.

Radiotherapy works by damaging the DNA (genetic material) within the tumor cells and making them unable to divide and grow, thus proper administration of required dose for the patient is of paramount importance in determination of quality of radiotherapy treatment given to the patient.

Radiotherapy is often given with the intent of destroying the tumor and curing the disease, nonetheless, it is inevitable that the normal, non-cancerous tissues surrounding the tumor will also be affected by the radiation and therefore damaged. The goal of radiotherapy is to maximize the dose to tumor cells while minimizing exposure to normal, healthy cells.