Cancer takes on many forms, leading to a variety of treatment methods to target the source. To understand the differences between radiotherapy vs. chemotherapy, you’ll need to explore their varying delivery methods, side effects, and more. If you’re seeking cancer treatment, comparing chemo vs. radiotherapy information will help you ask the right questions with your doctor. Let’s learn more.
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 is delivered either intravenously or orally and travels throughout the patient’s 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 at the cancer site, sending energy to damage and destroy the affected cells. Radiotherapy often sees fewer side effects than chemotherapy, though once it is 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.
Chemotherapy side effects include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite
- Weakened immune system
- Memory problems
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Fertility issues
Radiotherapy side effects include:
- Skin sensitivity at applied site
Cancer Treatment: Chemo vs. Radiation
When it comes to cancer treatment, chemo and radiation are used to target different cancers in different ways. Depending where the cancer is located on 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 your cancer diagnosis to come up with the most effective treatment method. In the case of skin cancer, IG-SRT, or image-guided superficial radiotherapy, is an excellent method to destroy cancerous cells without harmful side effects. It is a safe yet powerful non-invasive treatment method for those facing a non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosis.
Learn About Radiotherapy for Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Patients
The final debate between radiotherapy vs. chemotherapy lies with your doctor, but if radiotherapy is on the table, it’s worth discussing what IG-SRT can do for you. Learn how it works or get your questions answered by a Skin Cancer Information Specialist when you call 312-987-6543.