Radiation therapy for anal cancer is an increasingly popular treatment method, especially since there are different types of radiation choices. In general, radiation therapy, whether internally or externally, uses a beam of high-energy rays to help destroy and slow down the growth of cancer cells. For anal cancer in particular, radiation therapy can be used as part of the main treatment along with chemotherapy. It also can be used for anal cancer to help control its advancement or to relieve any symptoms it causes. Read below to learn about the two different kinds of radiation therapy, external beam and internal, and how it is used for anal cancer treatment.

Types of Radiation Therapy for Anal Cancer

External-Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT)

External-beam radiation therapy is the most common way for anal cancer to be treated through a focused beam from a machine used outside of the body. One of the first things your doctor will do is take a CT scan or MRI to get the accurate dosage you need for therapy to reduce any risks of side effects. This process is very similar to getting an X-ray, but with the external-beam radiation it is much stronger. The biggest advantage of this treatment method is that it is painless and it will only last a few minutes. There are two types of external-beam radiation therapy. Those are three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy. Both deliver radiation from outside of the patient’s body.

●      Side Effects of External-Beam Radiation Therapy

With any type of radiation treatment option for cancer, there comes a risk of side effects. Some of the minor side effects include temporary anal irritation, discomfort during bowel movements, fatigue and diarrhea. However, there also are some possible long-term side effects. There is a possibility that the radiation may cause damage to your anal tissue. In addition to that, it also can damage blood vessels, weaken bones and affect fertility, whether you are a man or woman.

Internal Radiation

Internal radiation therapy is also known as brachytherapy, and it is another method of delivering radiation in or near the tumor. Other names for internal radiation include interstitial radiation or intracavitary radiation. Although it is used less than external-beam radiation therapy to help treat anal cancer, it is often used alongside any one of the external radiation therapy options. One technique internal radiation performs is implanting a permanent radioactive seed that will, over time, release radiation slowly. There is another option in which there is a radioactive substance placed in the body. A major benefit to internal radiation, as opposed to external radiation, is that it can be done in only a few sessions. On the contrary, it could require some type of surgery depending on how it goes, and the potential side effects are the same as external-beam radiation therapy.

Cancer Treatment in New Jersey

Not only are these types of radiation therapy treatment options available for anal cancer, but these also are available for cancers such as bladder cancer, kidney cancer, testicular cancer and prostate cancer. If you need a professional to help with your treatment of any of these types of cancer, look no further than Dr. Ron Israeli of Livingston, New Jersey. He specializes in the treatment of cancer, as well as multiple urological services. To learn more, or to schedule your appointment with Dr. Israeli today, please do not hesitate to contact us.