In Radiation therapy, ionizing radiation beams are given in a controlled method to the tumor zone in order to destroy the cancer cells.
In sarcomas, radiation treatment is indicated in:
- Bone sarcoma: Either given before or after surgery.
- Ewing sarcoma involving bone where surgery is difficult or the morbidity is high, may be treated with only chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
- Some tumors where the size is big and surgical excision is difficult, radiation treatment may be given to bring down the size of the tumor and then surgery may be performed.
- Soft tissue sarcoma: usually radiation treatment is given to the tumor bed after it has been removed surgically.
Radiotherapy may be given before surgery as well.
- Radiotherapy may also be given as a palliative treatment when the tumor has spread to different parts of the body and surgical removal is not possible. This is aimed at relieving the patient of pain and improving the quality of life.
Types of radiotherapy:
- External Beam radiotherapy (EBRT, IMRT)
Radiations dose is given from outside source to body
Radiations dose is given using tubes
- Stereotactic Radiotherapy (SBRT)
- USed for ablating lesions with curative intent (Cyberknife)
After Radiotherapy a few patients may experience complications like skin ulceration, swelling of the hand or the leg affected by cancer, delay in wound healing etc.
A rare or infrequent complication is secondary cancer occurring due to radiation in the affected region after many years (average is 20 years post exposure).
But the techniques of radiotherapy have also evolved to reduce complications.