Cancer is a scary thing. When the diagnosis occurs, all of the sudden it seems you need to become an expert in the disease, understand all of the treatments, how they differ, what new research is coming out. It is daunting. That’s why we here at Silver Cancer Institute are writing this blogs, to provide you – our readers- with the information you are searching for, to help answer those questions. On today’s blog we are answering a question that comes up frequently when it comes to cancer treatment: ‘What is the difference between chemotherapy and radiation?’
First, what those both are. Both chemotherapy and radiation are forms of treatment for cancer. Some patients are prescribed one or the other, or a combination of the two, but that is about where the similarities end.
The Difference Between Chemotherapy and Radiation
Chemotherapy, often shortened to ‘chemo,’ is a treatment that involves drugs to treat the cancer. It works by pushing these drugs (they vary depending on the stage and type of cancer they are fighting, as well as the patient’s health and age) throughout the entire system. They are either intravenous or orally taken, typically administered by a doctor or nurse.
The drugs target cells that divide rapidly, like cancer cells. Unfortunately, there are other cells that have that same characteristic, hair and digestive tract cells. These cells are also damaged by the process of chemotherapy. There are other side effects related to chemotherapy as well:
- Increased risk of infection
- Loss of appetite
Certain chemo drugs can cause further damage in the heart, bladder, kidneys, lungs, and nervous system. That’s why doctors will monitor you closely, prescribe further medicine to supplement or protect your body’s other normal cells.
This form of therapy uses high-energy waves or particles to blast apart the cancer cells. Special equipment sends high doses of radiation to the tumor or cancer cells. This radiation also affects the healthy cells surrounding the cancer cells. Thankfully, normal healthy cells can repair themselves, cancer cells cannot.
While radiation therapy can be applied on its own, it is traditionally used in conjunction with chemotherapy to make for a more ‘comprehensive’ treatment plan. There are two different forms of radiation as well, internal or external.
Internal relies on radiation being placed inside the body, sometimes called brachytherapy. The implant is placed directly near on the tumor or near it. The large doses of radiation burn away the source of the cancer.
External radiation uses a machine to deliver a beam of radiation directed at the specific location of the cancer cells or tumor. It’s sort of like when you get an x-ray at the dentist. Typically, patients who undergo external radiation will receive treatments five days a week for anywhere between a week or two and a half months.
As with any treatment, there are some side effects. Aside from the damage to the nearby cells, other side effects include:
- Dry, tight skin at the site of the radiation
- Skin sores or ulcers
- Swelling of the lymphatic system
- Possible development of secondary cancers
So, there you have it, put very simply, the difference between chemotherapy and radiation. Both are effective cancer treatments (though not the only ones). They each have their inherent risks and side effects associated with them, and whether they are used in conjunction or not is dependent on a number of factors to be worked out with your doctor.
In treating cancer, you need to know what your options are, and heed the expertise of your doctors. Together, we can help fight back this terrible affliction. Here at Silver Cancer Institute, we offer a variety of other cancer care options as well.
‘Mold symptoms’ can refer to two, very different things. Both are serious, but it is critical for your health to know which is which, why mold has you feeling a certain way so that the steps taken to combat it are the right ones. Welcome to the Silver Cancer Institute Blog, where we will be covering topics just like this, and more, every month. Thank you for joining us and we hope that the information you find here is helpful.
Mold poisoning, or mycotoxicosis, affects the upper respiratory system in many ways that seem to be like a cold or flu-like. The most common of symptoms include:
- Stuffy Nose
- Red or Itchy Eyes
- Itchy Skin
For those who suffer from allergies or have asthma, the symptoms can be made drastically worse Those might include:
- Difficulty Breathing
- Frequent Coughing
- Chest Colds
Should the exposure to mold persist long-term, the effects can be terrible. You don’t even need to have an immediate reaction to the mold and these complications can still develop.
- Hair Loss
- Memory Loss
- Muscle Cramps
- Weight Gain
- Numbness in Hands/Feet
- Light Sensitivity
How to Diagnose Mold Poisoning
Concerned you have mycotoxicosis? Symptoms alone might not get the diagnosis they should, for that you will need several tests. To get a specific diagnosis, an allergy test, blood test, and getting an assessment of the mold levels in your home or workplace are needed. The blood test looks for antibodies for mold species (including black mold) in your blood. Those would indicate that you have been exposed to molds. These tests can also find biotoxins that suggestions similar results.
Treating Mold Exposure
Treating your mold exposure or allergies can be as simple as taking an over the counter medication, but the root problem won’t go away unless something is down about where that exposure is coming from in the first place.
Nasal Rinses or Sprays
These over-the-counter meds can reduce the inflammation of airways, giving relief from a number of the symptoms. A solution of saline, warm, distilled water can also help drain out the mold spores in your nasal passages.
Antihistamines and all the other standard meds for allergies can work wonders for allergy relief from the mold.
Getting on an allergy shot therapy regime can help build your body’s immunities up over time, allowing you to one day no longer suffer from the allergic reactions.
Handling Mold in the Home
If your mold exposure is coming from your home you need to take the necessary steps to halt its progress. Follow these tips to reduce and prevent mold in your home:
- Get rid of any source of dampness – leaky pipes, groundwater seepage, etc.
- Use a dehumidifier in any area that smells damp or musty. If you can smell it, it is at a point that it is too humid. Keep it lower than 50% and regularly empty the collection reservoir and coils.
- Use A/C! Having a conditioner with a HEPA filter can trap mold outdoors and keep them from circulating in your home.
- Change all filters regularly.
- Don’t carpet bathrooms or basements.
- Keep any plant containers made of straw, wicker, or hemp clean and dry.
There are plenty of avenues for mold to get into and proliferate inside your home. You want to block as many of those as possible, and to undo the damage that has already been done. If you find your home already has a host of black mold, you’ll need to remove it.
Dr. Silver himself has struggled through mold-related illnesses, so you can be sure that the treatments and help offered are accurate. He has the personal experience to understand just what the illness feels like, the worry and anxiety of not being able to identify the problem, and the relief you will experience when you begin to treat the illness. It’s not a cold, it’s not a strong flu, it is a serious reaction to harmful molds and biotoxins and needs to be treated as such!
If you or your loved ones are experiencing any of those symptoms, contact us at Silver Cancer Institute right away and we can work together to start the healing process.
Note: All blogs are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be used in place of a doctor. If you are suffering from any symptoms that you suspect are caused by black mold or mold allergies you should seek out your doctor for your best course of action.