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Palliative Radiotherapy Continues to Evolve for Supportive Care

As cancer rates across the country continue to rise courtesy of the aging Baby Boomer generation, treatments for this disease’s many forms continue to evolve. Once such option that has made leaps and bounds in recent years is palliative radiotherapy meant to ease symptoms, not necessarily care them.

Palliative radiotherapy is designed to provide support for patients who might face incurable forms of cancer. This therapy doesn’t necessarily seek to “cure” cancer, rather it’s intended to increase quality of life as long as possible. Essentially, it and other supporting treatments are designed to enable patients to live as comfortably as possible and as normally as possible for as long as possible. These treatments are often used in conjunction with other options.

Studies have shown that today’s highly targeted radiotherapy that’s able to focus in on tumors while sparing much of the nearby healthy tissue can have a great impact on quality of care in incurable cases. For example, palliative radiotherapy treatments can provide patients with fast and potentially lasting pain relief while also helping with such problems as bleeding, obstructions and neurological symptoms often associated with incurable primary or metastatic tumors. The idea is to minimize side effects. The treatment has proven itself rather cost-effective in the long run, especially with metastatic tumors in spinal tissues, bones or the brain.

While outcomes may vary based on the patient, radiotherapy has proven itself a valuable tool in supporting those who face incurable cancers. By reducing pain and lessening the effects of the cancer, this form of treatment can extend quality of life while enabling patients to function without such issues as cognitive impairments related to brain tumors or obstructive breathing related to lung and esophageal cancers.

As cancer treatments evolve, supportive options are also advancing. Palliative radiotherapy is one such treatment that has made major leaps and bounds courtesy of new targeting techniques that enable pinpoint delivery of tumor-shrinking radiation beams.

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