Chemo or radiotherapy: what are the differences?

Do you suffer from cancer? You should know that there are two possible treatments for cancer: chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Here you will find explanations of these two methods, as well as the differences between them.

General information on cancer treatment

When you are told you have cancer, it is normal to feel upset and helpless. Fortunately, however, it is now possible to fight it with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. They can be given before or after surgery. They can also be prescribed alone, or in combination with other treatments. In fact, doctors adapt them according to the situation of the disease. They both have one thing in common: they kill cancer cells. Like all treatments, they may have some side effects. However, doctors have already found ways to mitigate these effects.

Differences between chemotherapy and radiotherapy

In general, chemotherapy and radiotherapy have several differences. Chemotherapy is a general treatment that consists of taking a chemical substance. It blocks the multiplication of cancer in the human body. It is often given as an intravenous injection in hospital. It is therefore aimed at reducing the harmful symptoms of cancer, slowing its progression and limiting its risks. Radiotherapy is a local treatment. Specialists use ionising radiation to destroy cancer cells and prevent them from multiplying. During this treatment, the radiation is directed at the area to be treated. There are several types of radiotherapy, but specialists most often use external radiotherapy. This involves directing a beam of radiation at the tumour. It is done through the skin.

When are these two methods used?

The doctor uses chemotherapy and radiotherapy in addition to surgery. In fact, radiotherapy is performed after surgery for tumours of stages 1 to 3. Some stage 4 and 5 tumours can also be treated with this therapy. In these cases, it is the main treatment for cancerous tumours. Treatment with chemotherapy, however, depends on the histological types and extent of the cancer. It is often used for bladder cancer, or bowel cancer that has metastasised, type 4 cancers. And the prescription of chemotherapy also requires the observation of certain conditions, such as the study of the medical history or the age of the patient. But it is also sometimes combined with radiotherapy.
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