Cancer is a deadly disease that affects millions worldwide. There are various treatments available to help combat the disease; a common technique being radiotherapy. Radiotherapy, also known as radiation therapy, is commonly used as a treatment for cancer as well as thyroid and blood disorders. With the use of radiation, the DNA of cancerous cells are broken to disrupt their growth or to kill them completely. For cancer treatment, ionising radiation method is used, which are a high-energy form of radiation. While it has proved to show good results in many cases, there are still many research studies being conducted to learn more about the impact of radiation.
According to a new study done by researchers at a University in Rome, patients with early stage pancreatic cancer have more chances to live longer if they receive radiotherapy at a high enough dose. The study retrospectively analysed 514 patients from Europe and the US and found that the higher the dose, the longer the patient lived.
The study included patients who were diagnosed when their tumours had not spread and could be removed by surgery. Following surgery, all the patients had been treated with chemotherapy combined with radiotherapy, and were followed for an average of 20 months.
The patients were divided into four groups according the dose of radiation they received. Radiation dose is measured in units called grays, with one gray (Gy) equals to absorbing one joule of radiation energy per kilogram of body tissue. Patients who received a dose less than 45 Gy had an average survival of 13 months, patients with a dose in the range of 45 to less than 50 Gy had an average survival of 21 months. For the group with the highest doses of 55 Gy or more, average survival was 28 months.
Various studies are still being conducted worldwide, but this study tries to draw attention to the doses of radiation for treatment. Cellini added, “It may also be worthwhile to investigate whether current radiotherapy techniques could also bring survival benefits to patients with more advanced tumours.”