Completed Radiation Can Reduce Cancer Recurrence Rates

There’s no denying that undergoing all the treatment associated with a positive diagnosis of cancer is no walk in the park. Surgery, chemotherapy and other interventions, such as radiotherapy, are all designed to stop cancer in its tracks and prevent its return. Treatments such as radiation, however, cannot be expected to properly do their jobs if they are administered in a haphazard way.

A recent study, in fact, found that cancer patients who skip two or more prescribed radiation therapy sessions are much more likely to witness recurrence than those who follow dosing instructions to the letter. The study found that radiation noncompliance produced an increased risk of recurrence of about 16 percent over a five-year cumulative period. The bottom line is that radiation cannot be expected to be its most effective if a course of treatment is not properly completed.

There are a number of reasons why patients may find themselves skipping out on prescribed radiation treatments. Financial motivations, a lack of transportation and concerns about side effects, for example, may all play a role. These treatments, however, are designed to kill cancer on the cellular level. When successful, the likelihood of recurrence can drop dramatically.

Patients who struggle with making radiation appointments should discuss their reservations or obstacles with their healthcare providers. There might be programs in place locally that can help with transportation, for example. Doctors also have options available to them to help treat some of the more common side effects of radiation. They cannot, however, help if they don’t know there is a problem.

Skipping a dose or two of radiation might not seem like a big deal. Researchers are finding that it very much is. For this treatment to function at its peak, patients must undergo each and very dose recommended. Doing so may lower the risk of cancer ever returning while enhancing the chances overall treatment plan will be successful.

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