Side Effects of Radiation Therapy in the Treatment of Liver Cancer

Radiation therapy is the kind of treatment that uses high energy rays to kill cancer cells. There are different types of radiation that can be used and the side effects differ according to the kind of radiation used.

Picture of a 3D liver with the words cancer

External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT)

In this type of radiation, the radiation is focused from outside the body through a machine. The process is a lot like getting an X-ray and the amount of radiation given depends on different factors. Radiation is usually given over a course of few days. External beam radiation cannot be given on high doses as liver cancer is sensitive to radiation and the normal tissue might get damaged in the process. The procedure of radiation is painless and lasts for very less time, however, getting the patient ready for radiation takes longer as the radiation team will have to mark correct angles to aim the radiation beams at correct site.

With radiation having newer techniques, doctors have found targeting tumors easier while reducing side effect.
External beam radiation can have side effects like:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Low blood counts
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea
  • Changes in skin like redness that looks like sunburn and blistering and peeling of skin that is exposed to radiation

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