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What are the Pros and Cons of Using Radiation Therapy for Lung Cancer?

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  • Written By: Marisa O'Connor
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 10 August 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Any and all concerns should be discussed with a doctor while considering the pros and cons of using radiation therapy for lung cancer. Some pro arguments for using radiotherapy are that it effectively kills cancer cells, reduces chances of recurrence, and is a safer alternative to surgery. Even when cancer is too advanced, radiation can ease symptoms. The con arguments for using radiotherapy are the notoriously difficult symptoms of radiation and the fact that the radiation kills healthy cells along with the cancer cells.

A major pro argument for using radiation therapy for lung cancer is that it kills cancer cells. External beam radiation is the most commonly used type of radiotherapy, which destroys cancer cells, and preventative radiation is used to stop the spread of existing cells. Radiation therapy can and has saved many lives, restoring health to normal.

Another large pro argument for choosing radiation therapy for lung cancer is that it has been shown to reduce the chances of recurrence. The American Society of Clinical Oncology reports that its research shows radiotherapy, in conjunction with other cancer treatments, substantially lowers instances of recurrence. The side effects of radiotherapy can be incredibly difficult to manage, so the prospect of a decreased need for radiation therapy in the future is good news.

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Even when the cancer is too advanced to be treated successfully, some pros still exist for using radiation therapy for lung cancer. The radiation can help reduce symptoms for people with terminal cancer. This therapy is effective in easing difficulties breathing and swallowing and may even relieve pain.

The alternative to radiotherapy is another great argument for choosing radiation therapy for lung cancer. Symptoms of radiation can be incredibly invasive and difficult, but in the long run, it is often the only alternative to surgery. Surgery is much more invasive than radiation therapy and also much less risky. Patients have a much greater chance of surveying radiotherapy than surgery.

The side effects of radiation therapy for lung cancer are often very unpleasant and are a major con argument for this method of treatment. The most commonly experienced side effects are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Fatigue is also a very common symptom of radiotherapy. Symptoms may also include atrophy, skin pain and itching, as well as hair loss. Other common side effects are skin redness and irritation in the chest, where the radiotherapy is being applied.

Another con argument for radiation therapy for lung cancer is that it kills healthy cells along with the cancer cells. Many experts agree that these casualties are necessary and worth the cost. Worth it or not, the cost exists and can exacerbate the symptoms of radiation.

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