The treatment for head and neck cancers have transformed tremendously over the years and the latest advancements in radiation therapy can help treat the condition, said experts here raising awareness on the treatment.
Cancers which are collectively known as head and neck cancers usually begin in the mouth, throat, or voice box.
Globally, Head and Neck Cancer (HNC) is the seventh-most common cancer. In India, it is the second most common cancer especially, lip and oral cavity cancer.
Radiation therapy is an extremely targeted treatment precisely acting on cancer wherever it may be in the body. This allows the cancer cells to be killed or be reduced in number while safeguarding most of the healthy organs and tissues in the body.
It is a cost-effective treatment modality provided as out-patient treatment, where people can get it done in a short time and continue their normal activities.
But with advanced treatment methods like the IMRT (Intensity-modulated radiation therapy), the rate of cure has become higher while also reducing side effects, Vineet Nakra, radiation Oncologist at Max Super Speciality Hospital Vaishali, told IANS.
IMRT can be used to treat cancers and tumours that aren't cancerous, which are called benign tumours. It can treat cancers and tumours anywhere in the body. It uses advanced technology to manipulate high-energy photon beams of radiation to conform to the shape of a tumour.
"After a cancer diagnosis, the right treatment plan is very important. Modern treatment methodologies along with safe and effective treatment options like IMRT have helped improve the clinical outcomes in a big way," Rahul Bhargava, Principal director of haematology and bone marrow transplant, at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, told IANS.
"Many patients have recovered successfully just because they were able to complete the entire treatment owing to innovative modalities like IMRT which is now an important and effective treatment," he added.
With IMRT, the beams of radiation are carefully customised. The beams are shaped to match the shape of the cancer. The beams can move through an arc while they deliver the radiation. The intensity of each beam can be varied.
The result is a precisely controlled radiation treatment. IMRT delivers the correct radiation dose as safely and efficiently as possible.
"IMRT uses photon beams from multiple angles around the body with varying intensities to precisely irradiate a tumour. The radiation intensity of each beam is controlled, and the beam shape changes throughout each treatment," said Nakra.
"This technique has improved cancer treatment in India. The process affects the DNA of the cancer cells acting at the genetic level and inhibits cancer cells from dividing and growing," he noted.