A study in Canada has found that radiation therapy is highly effective in reducing the pain caused by bone metastases from different cancers and significantly improving the quality of life for the patient for a short while at least. The study also reveals that compared to the multiple fraction treatments provided to cancer patients, single fraction treatments have shown better and effective results against pain relief.
The focus of the study was laid more on improving the quality of life for the time that was left with the patient rather than on increasing the patients lifespan. Off-course palliative care is an integral part of a patients journey through cancer and has to be carried out all through. As for radiation dose results, the patients response and condition was seen to be improving day per day and this was something new and interesting for the researchers. After 2 weeks one fifth of the total number of patients seemed to have experienced positive results with considerable pain relief.
Another study was carried out in order to check if the 5 dose course of a medicine named ‘dexamethasone’ taken every day for four days post palliative radiotherapy and a single dose before the same, worked well in reducing the risk of painful flares in patients with metastases of bone.
In a study where 298 patients with a pain score of 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 were given a single 8 Gy radiation dose. These patients noted worst pain score between days 1 to 10 and after day 42 of the treatment. Around day 10, almost over 40% had experienced relief by responding well to the radiotheraphy. 37 showed full response while 85 of them showed partial. The complete procedure of measuring the QOL was carried out using advanced and validated tools.
Considering the affirmative results of the aforementioned study and other related ones, it is apparently upto the patients with bone metastases, their doctors and family to understand the importance of radiation along side palliative care for serious pain relief and improving QOL of the cancer patient considerably until she/he is alive.
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