Radiotherapy (X-ray Treatment)
This type of treatment is not commonly used in thyroid cancer. It is more often used to treat Anaplastic and Medullary thyroid cancers but can have a role to play in any type.
The reasons why this type of treatment might be offered are:
Radiotherapy involves using powerful x ray beams to try and kill cancer cells whilst allowing the normal cells around the same area to survive.
The treatment is given in a radiotherapy department and the machines are called linear accelerators or Linacs.
Treatment is usually given over a period of several weeks on a Monday to Friday basis (no treatment at the weekends usually). You may be in the treatment room for a total of about 20 minutes each day.
It is important to keep the position of your head and neck as still as possible during treatment so a special see through plastic mask is usually made that fits snugly around the shape of your face and neck. There are lots of different types of mask but an example of one of these masks can be seen at http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/help/default.asp?page=3598
You only wear this whilst you are on the treatment bed. You are treated lying on your back.
You do not feel anything whilst the x ray beam is switched on but you can usually hear the machine working.
The treatment is likely to cause some side effects. The commonest ones are:
The side effects will vary depending on exactly what part of the body needs treating and your doctor will explain in detail the likely effects that you might experience and whether they are likely to be temporary or longer lasting.
For further details go to: www.goingfora.com/oncology/radiotherapy_room.html
Chemotherapy (drug treatment)
This is not commonly used in thyroid cancer and therefore will not be discussed here. For information on specific chemotherapy drugs, please click this link.
We are the only registered charity in Wales supporting this rare form of cancer l Tel: 0845 009 2737 l Registered Charity No 1113774