In radiation therapy ionized radiation is used to interrupt the cellular growth. more than half of the patients with cancer receive a form of radiation therapy at some point during treatment. Radiation may be used to treat cancer as in Hodgkin lymphoma, testicular seminomas, thyroid carcinoma, localized cancers of the head and neck, and uterine cervix carcinoma. Radiation therapy may also be used to control malignant disease when the tumor cannot be removed surgically, or when local nodal metastasis is present, or it can be used prophylacticaly to prevent leukemic infiltrations to the brain or the spinal cord.
Nursing management in Radiation therapy:
the patients receiving radiation therapy and the family often have questions and concerns about its safety. to answer questions and to allay fear about the effects of radiation on others, on tumor, and on patients normal tissues and organs, the nurse can explain the procedure for delivering radiation and describe the equipment, the duration of the procedure (often minutes only), the possible need for immobilizing the patient during the procedure, and the absence of new sensations including pain during the procedure.
if a radioactive implant is used, the nurse informs the patient and the family about the restrictions placed on visitors, and health care personnel and other radiation precautions.
PROTECTING THE SKIN AND ORAL MUCOSA:
the nurse assesses the patients skin, nutritional status, and general feeling of well- being. the skin and oral mucosa are assessed frequently for changes (particularly if radiation therapy is directed to these areas). the skin is protected from irradiation, and the patient is instructed to avoid using ointments, lotions, or powder on the area. Gentle oral hygiene is essential to remove debris, prevent irradiation, and promote healing. If systemic symptoms like weakness, and fatigue occurs, the patient may need assistance with activities of daily living and personal hygiene. Additionally the nurse offers reassurance by explaining that these symptoms are result of the treatment and don't represent deterioration or progression of the disease.
PROTECTING THE CARE GIVERS:
When the patient has a radioactive implant in place, nurses and other health care providers need to protect bthemselves as well as the patient from the effects of radiation. Specific instructions are usually provided by the radiation safety officer from the x- ray department. the instructions identify the maximum time that can be spent safely in the patients room, the sheilding equibment to be used, and the special precautions and actions to be taken if the implant is dislodged. the nurse should explain the rationale for these precautions to keep the patient from feeling unduly isolated.