Treatment of radiation and the lungs
One of the side effects of radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) affects the lungs. When using high energy rays to damage. Cancer Cells and prevent them from growing and dividing, it is inevitable that normal cells will also be affected.
Especially after radiation treatments for tumors inside the breast or breast, the lungs can become inflamed. The lung inflammation of radiation therapy is called radiation pneumonitis.
Radiation therapy is usually given on an outpatient basis in a hospital or clinic 5 days a week for several weeks. Radiation pneumonitis tends to appear 2 weeks to 6 months after the end of radiation therapy.
Radiation pneumonitis is not sick in any way. Radiation pneumonitis can be seen as an incidental finding on a chest x-ray in a person who received radiation therapy but has no symptoms.
If symptoms of radiation pneumonitis occur, they may include difficulty breathing after the activity, cough and fever.
Blood tests usually show an abnormal white blood cell count and a high sedimentation rate, signs that inflammation may be present somewhere in the body, but not specifically target the lungs.
Radiation pneumonitis is often reversible with medications that reduce inflammation, such as cortisone medications (prednisone and others).
If radiation pneumonitis persists, it can cause scarring of the lungs, a condition called radiation fibrosis.
Radiation fibrosis typically occurs one year after the completion of radiation treatments. Radiation fibrosis is usually not reversible.
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