Colorectal cancer can be cured in most cases, when it s diagnosed in early stages. It is the medical oncologists, gastroenterologists, radiation oncologists and surgeons, who specialize in treating such cancers in women.
Colorectal cancer may be treated depending upon the exact location of the tumour present, its stage and size. Although surgery and chemotherapy (radiation therapy) are the most common treatment methods, many women receive a combined treatment of both these methods. However, recent studies show that there are many side effects of radiation for colorectal cancer.
Radiation Therapy for Colorectal Cancer
Radiation therapy uses high energy rays for killing cancer cells. In fact, it affects the cancer cells lying only in the affected area. Two types of radiation therapies, namely the internal radiation and external radiation, are used for treating colorectal cancer.
Side-effects of Using Radiation Therapy
Although radiation therapy has been mostly successful in the treatment of colorectal cancer, there are many side effects of this technique. These side effects usually depend on the part of the body and the dose of radiation given to the patient. Some common side effects of radiation for colorectal cancer treatment are vomiting, hair loss, extreme tiredness, bleeding, easy bruising and increased susceptibility to different infections.
Women undertaking radiation therapy may experience symptoms like vomiting, nausea, bloody stools, urinary discomfort and diarrhoea. The skin where radiation is given may even become tender, dry or red.
Radiation therapy may also cause alopecia (hair loss) in the area, where treatment is carried out. It may result in partial or full loss of hair on your scalp.
Many women have experienced the side effect of having low white blood cell counts when they have undergone radiation therapy for colorectal cancer. However, this side effect of having low levels of WBC due to radiation is comparatively rare. These cells prevent bleeding and fight your body infection. Radiation therapy can even affect your ability to have children (the same is in the case of your part, if he undergoes the therapy). Hence if you notice this side effect, it is recommended to delay the therapy for about a week.
Some of the other possible side effects resulting from radiation therapy may include discomfort or pressure in the excretory region, burning sensation during urination, fatigue, skin irritation, abdominal cramping, frequent bowel movements and nausea. However, these side effects are temporary, as they tend to resolve after the termination of radiation therapy for colorectal cancer.
Measures for Controlling Side Effects of Radiation Therapy
Although these side effects vary with different patients, they can be controlled by using different medications and inflicting changes in your diet. Try to give plenty of rest to your body during this treatment, as you are more likely to get fatigue and feel tired. Do not wear tight clothes and avoid scrubbing, rubbing and putting adhesive tapes on the skin where treatment is done.
Take special care to protect your treated skin from direct sunlight. Since your skin becomes very sensitive during this time, cover it with a dark cloth if possible before going out.