Information for Patients
When you eat, your body breaks food down to a form it can use to build and nourish cells and provide energy. This process is called digestion.
Your digestive system is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube. It runs from your mouth to your anus and includes your esophagus, stomach, and small and large intestines. Your liver, gallbladder and pancreas are also involved. They produce juices to help digestion.
There are many types of digestive disorders. The symptoms vary widely depending on the problem. In general, you should see your doctor if you have
- Blood in your stool
- Changes in bowel habits
- Severe abdominal pain
- Unintentional weight loss
- Heartburn not relieved by antacids
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment. It uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and stop them from spreading. About half of all cancer patients receive it. The radiation may be external, from special machines, or internal, from radioactive substances that a doctor places inside your body. The type of radiation therapy you receive depends on many factors, including
- The type of cancer
- The size of the cancer
- The cancer's location in the body
- How close the cancer is to normal tissues that are sensitive to radiation
- How far into the body the radiation needs to travel
- Your general health and medical history
- Whether you will have other types of cancer treatment
- Other factors, such as your age and other medical conditions
Radiation therapy can damage normal cells as well as cancer cells. Treatment must be carefully planned to minimize side effects. Common side effects include skin changes and fatigue. Other side effects depend on the part of your body being treated.
Sometimes radiation is used with other treatments, like surgery or chemotherapy.
NIH: National Cancer Institute