Radiation Therapy

Providers

Radiation therapy is a common treatment mode used for a variety of cancers. External beam therapy is used most in the United States, wherein in Europe and other countries brachytherapy, or the intralesional placement of radioactive sources, is also used.

 

Depending on the size, stage of the tumor, and type of radiation used, a regimen is established indicating the frequency, duration, and amount of radiation to be provided to the patient.  For example, a patient with neck node involvement may receive a daily fraction of 2 Gray (Gy) five days per week for 7 weeks, for a total of 70 Gy.

 

Common complications of head and neck radiation therapy include mucositis (mouth sores), dry mouth, dysgeusia (loss of taste), trismus (difficulty opening widely), and osteoradionecrosis.

 

Radiation oncologists have developed sophisticated strategies aimed at maximizing doses to cancerous tissue and minimizing doses to non-diseased tissue. This may be done using blocks and shields. Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) uses computer design to minimize complications; for example, a parotid sparing protocol is meant to maintain saliva flow when possible.

 

Combination modalities may add forms of chemotherapy while radiation therapy is being administered to maximize efficacy and minimize side effects.

For more information about radiation therapy and oral health, see these resources:

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More information regarding the following topics will be coming soon:

  • Osteoradionecrosis

  • Dental caries prevention

DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE

The information on the Dental Oncology Knowledge Center of Rhode Island, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, and other external materials are for informational purposes only. The Partnership to Reduce Cancer in Rhode Island does not provide medical advice. The information on this website is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.