Side Effects Reduced in New Brain Cancer Treatment
A great new form of brain cancer treatment may be able to provide patients with fewer side effects than ever before. Traditional methods of radiation treatment generally involve many side effects that are difficult to cope with like hair loss, reddening of the skin, nausea, fatigue and more. This new form of treatment effectively flips the traditional method of radiation therapy; instead of shooting radiation into the patient, radiation is utilized directly from the inside of the patient’s body. This technique is called Brachytherapy and could offer hope for a brighter future for brain cancer patients around the world.
A patient named Janice Witthuhn has been one of the first Americans to benefit from this miraculous new form of brain surgery. She had previously been treated for a brain tumor at the Los Angeles Medical Center of the University of California. However, around a year after the surgery, her health care providers discovered another tumor in the same location. Witthuhn was just in time to benefit from the use of this new form of treatment, Brachytherapy, and now feels much better. Witthuhn and her husband are holding out hope that this new surgery will have made the problem disappear for good.
The procedure itself, also known as internal radiation therapy, involves a form of radiation being placed within the patient’s body. Traditional radiation therapy involves radiation being shot into the body from an outside source, meaning that the radiation has to pass through various other parts of the body before reaching the tumor and can therefore cause damaging side effects. The benefit of brachytherapy is that the radiation is placed exactly at the location of the tumor, meaning it only affects the problematic area and therefore poses less of a risk of side effects as external radiation therapy. Another bonus of this form of treatment is that it works more quickly than external therapy, meaning that patients have to spend less time in hospitals and can be cured faster.
Brachytherapy isn’t a new form of brain cancer treatment, but the intensity of the radiation used in the most recent operations is more effective than ever before. As part of Janice Witthuhn’s procedure, the type of radiation used was inside a strand that was planted in the area where she previously had her tumor. This strand is essentially composed of tiny radiation seeds that focalize their energy on the affected area. Overall, this procedure helps to minimize the dangerous effects of radiation on other parts of the body by limiting its exposure.
In the past, cases like those of Janice would have involved repetitive surgeries and external radiation therapy that could have caused long-lasting damage and horrible side effects. The use of this new form of treatment could be the sign of a brighter future for brain cancer patients, as the threats of side effects and long periods of treatment are slowly fading away.