Difference Between Radiation and Chemotherapy

Radiation and chemotherapy are treatment methods that are used to destroy cancerous cells once this deadly disease has been diagnosed by the doctors. Cancer is becoming more and more common these days and doctors are finding themselves unable to have a miracle cure for this dreaded disease. A vast majority of people are unaware of the difference between radiation and chemotherapy. Many talk of them interchangeably, while others think that they have same working and effects. However, the two methods are entirely different and have their limitations and features that are also different.

One thing to note is that both radiation and chemotherapy are used to treat cancer. Sometimes, they are used alone, sometimes in conjunction with each other and surgery. Chemotherapy is actually the use of drugs to kill cancerous cells while radiation is use of rays to generate heat and kill these cells.

There are different ways to administer these treatment methods. While in chemotherapy, drugs are either given orally or injected into the body of the patient, in radiation, your body, especially the part suffering from cancer is subjected to radiation through a machine. Sometimes, doctors insert a radioactive material inside the body to kill cancer cells.

While chemotherapy can continue even at the home of the patient as he can take drugs himself, radiation requires the patient to go to hospital to receive it in sessions that can last for days.

As far as effects are concerned, there are side effects with both chemotherapy as well as radiation. In chemotherapy, commonly experienced side effects are nausea, hair loss, vomiting, pain and fatigue. On the other hand side effects with radiation are itching, blistering, peeling and dryness. However, if everything works well, these side effects disappear after treatment is over.

It is not in the hands of a patient to decide on the course of treatment, and doctors decide whether it is chemotherapy or radiation that will work well on your cancer. It also depends on the spread of the cancerous formation besides your present medical condition.

In brief:

• Radiation and chemotherapy are two treatment methods of cancers

• While chemotherapy uses drugs, radiation uses rays to kill cancer cells

• The method of administration and their frequency is also different

• Chemotherapy or radiation can be used alone, separately or in conjunction