I recently posted with links to information about the Varian® Trilogy machine that has delivered my radiation treatment this time. The technology is called linear acceleration, and I’m again providing the link to the scientific description via video on YouTube. As I noted the other day, it is a cool video worth watching more than once if you are interested in learning more about this technology.
The RapidArc treatment delivered by the Varian Trilogy linear accelerator is the most advanced for cancer treatment, and it is used for bone metastasis to reduce the osteoblasts (solid tumors). Radiation kills cancer cells, and the targeting and delivery of the RapidArc technology is the most precise and efficient radiation treatment available to us. The advantages include higher dosage delivered in shorter time with the best precision. The precise delivery spares surrounding healthy tissue, and the shorter duration and fewer sessions spares the patient from some side effects and lessens others. Of course, the other benefit to the patient is the time commitment might be cut in half. Whereas my previous sessions of radiation were 22 visits the second time and over 30 visits the first time, this third time I had only 10 sessions. For anyone who has gone through the daily routine of radiation, you know how good that sounded to me when they told me I would have only ten visits.
For the most part, my side effects have been limited to fatigue, the most common side effect from radiation treatment, and a funny sensation in my throat/esophagus, as though a golf ball is stuck there. It is not a scary feeling and sometimes not even annoying. It is just there. As far as burning on the skin, I have had only tenderness with not even a discoloration so far. If it happens yet within the nest week, I will share that information. Otherwise, just the application of aloe vera seems to do the trick as far as soothing the slightly burning itch. If you look at this post and photo from my previous radiation treatment to my middle back, you will understand how thankful I am for this new technology.
I have also created a video of one of my treatment sessions so that anyone who wants to know what happens when they close that foot-thick door to the treatment room. As cancer treatments go, this one is a real breeze. The radiation oncologist reminded me that radiation is cumulative and continues to increase in its effects for about a week after treatment ends. Also, the results of the treatment on the cancer can take up to two months to assess. Between now and then, the patient may begin to feel the effects if the pain diminishes. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it works.
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