Radiation therapy, sometimes called radiotherapy, is the use of different forms of radiation to treat cancer and other diseases. Doctors use radiation therapy to control the growth of the cancer or to relieve symptoms, such as pain. Radiation therapy can be used to treat cancer in almost any part of the body, although breast cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer typically make up more than half of all patients receiving radiation therapy. Radiation is also used to treat non-cancerous tumors, heart disorders, and thyroid problems.
During cancer treatment, the radiation works by targeting the radiation directly on the cancer damaging the DNA within cancer cells and destroying the ability of the cancer cells to reproduce. When the damaged cells die, the body naturally eliminates them. Normal cells are also affected by radiation, but they are able to repair themselves in a way that cancer cells cannot. It is also common to combine Radiation therapy with surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, Immunotherapy or some mixture of the four.
Radiation therapy is relatively painless. Low-dose radiation treatments causes minimal or no side effects, but treatment of higher doses causes varying side effects. Side effects from radiation are usually limited to the area of the patient's body that is under treatment. The main side effects reported are fatigue and skin irritation, like a mild to moderate sun burn. The fatigue can last for weeks after treatment ends. Depending on the part of your body being treated, you may also have diarrhea, hair loss in the treatment area, mouth problems, nausea and vomiting, sexual changes, swelling, trouble swallowing, urinary and bladder changes.
Dr. Burzynski's therapy is non-poisonous to the body and it represents a more sophisticated approach to cancer than either chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.