Radiotherapy - One World Essay

Topics: Cancer, Ionizing radiation, Oncology Pages: 4 (1645 words) Published: November 22, 2012
What are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Radiotherapy?

Cancer is one of our planets most concerning illnesses at this time. It is the uncontrollable growth and forming of malignant tumours. In 2007, it was said to cause about 13% of all human deaths worldwide (Kleinsmith, Lewis J. M.D). Some cancers may be cured and this depends on certain variables such as the type of cancer, where the cancer is, and how early it has been detected.

One method of treatment for cancer is Radiation therapy (Radiotherapy). This is the medical use of ionizing radiation to control or kill these malignant cells. However, there is doubt among society about the use of radiotherapy. This is mainly because some long-term side effects include the growth of scar tissue, infertility and damage to other areas of the body, depending on the location of the radiation treatment. Another major reason for doubting this treatment is because in some cases, people may also develop a secondary cancer as a result of exposure to radiation. Therefore this is a global issue and in the following essay, the social and economic factors involved in this topic will be discussed. “Radiation therapy is commonly applied to the cancerous tumor because of its ability to control cell growth. Ionizing radiation works by damaging the DNA of exposed tissue leading to cellular death. To spare normal tissues (such as skin or organs which radiation must pass through to treat the tumor), shaped radiation beams are aimed from several angles of exposure to intersect at the tumor, providing a much larger absorbed dose there than in the surrounding, healthy tissue.” (Cancer Research U.K.).

There are two main types of radiotherapy, internal and external. The one being discussed in this topic will be external radiotherapy because it is most related to the electromagnetic spectrum, while the other is based more on placing radioactive material inside patients. External radiotherapy uses radiation aimed at a cancer from a...
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