GentleCure Blog

Radiotherapy vs. Chemotherapy

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Cancer takes on many forms, leading to a variety of treatment methods to target the source. However, how should you know if you should go with radiotherapy or chemotherapy? What are the radiotherapy side effects? How do they compare to chemotherapy side effects? To understand the differences between radiotherapy vs. chemotherapy, as well as radiotherapy vs. chemotherapy side effects, you’ll need to explore their varying delivery methods and more. If you’re seeking cancer treatment, comparing chemo vs. radiotherapy information will help you ask the right questions to your doctor. 

Radiotherapy vs. Chemotherapy: Differences

Radiotherapy and chemotherapy are two very different yet effective methods of treating cancer. Chemotherapy is a prescribed drug designed to kill cancer cells. It’s delivered either intravenously or orally and travels throughout the body to attack the affected areas. While chemotherapy is meant to target cells that are dividing or mutating at an abnormal rate, it often affects healthy cells as well along the way, leading to a variety of side effects. 

Radiotherapy (or “radiation treatment”) is an external cancer treatment that targets only the specific cancerous area. It uses a machine to deliver doses of radiation directly to the cancer site, sending energy to damage and destroy the affected cells. Radiotherapy often sees fewer, less severe, side effects than chemotherapy, though once it’s used on a particular area of the body, the radiation dose limits the amount of times this treatment can be administered.  

Radiotherapy vs. Chemotherapy: Side Effects

In comparing the radiotherapy vs. chemotherapy side effects, the harsher nature of chemo lends itself to more unpleasant reactions. That isn’t to say that radiotherapy doesn’t have side effects of its own. However, many of its side effects are temporary or limited to just the applied site. Below you’ll see some of the radiotherapy vs. chemotherapy side effects: 

Chemotherapy side effects include: 

  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Overall Hair loss 
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakened immune system
  • Memory problems
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Fertility issues 

Radiotherapy side effects include: 

  • Moderate irritation
  • Redness
  • Thinning
  • Skin breakdown
  • Skin darkening/lightening
  • Hair Loss
  • Rare occurrence of skin ulcers

One side effect that isn’t a direct result of radiotherapy or chemotherapy is mental duress. People with cancer often experience increased levels of stress, anxiety, and depression due to how frustrating and traumatic it can be to go through cancer treatments. While you’re undergoing treatment for your skin cancer, making sure to keep your doctor up to date on your mental health is just as important. Joining cancer support groups or seeing a therapist are great ways to keep your mental health strong while you’re undergoing treatment. 

Cancer Treatment: Chemo vs. Radiation 

When it comes to cancer treatment, chemo and radiation are used to target different cancers in different ways. Depending on where the cancer is located on or in the body, radiotherapy may not be an option; likewise, chemotherapy may not be the best method if the cancer is located on the skin or near the skin’s surface. 

Your doctor will need to assess the severity and location of the cancer to prescribe the most effective treatment method. In the case of skin cancer, Image-Guided SRT is an excellent method to destroy cancerous cells without the side effects one might experience during chemotherapy. It’s a safe yet powerful surgery-free treatment method for those facing a common skin cancer diagnosis. 

Learn About GentleCure™ for Common Skin Cancers

The final debate surrounding radiotherapy vs. chemotherapy lies with your doctor, but if radiotherapy is on the table, it’s worth discussing what GentleCure™ can do for you. Learn how it works or get your questions answered by a skin cancer information specialist when you contact us online or call 855-936-4411. 

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For more information on skin cancer treatment options, speak with a Skin Cancer Information Specialist today.

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