Radiotherapy is one of the most comprehensive therapies used for the treatment of cancer. It comprises of using radiations in its different forms like x-rays, gamma rays, particles etc. These radiations are used to destroy tumors either alone or combined with the surgery or chemotherapy. Radiotherapy is either internal i.e brachytherapy or external i.e teletherapy.
Teletherapy is the most type of radiation therapy by an external radiation. It uses a source outside the body for the treatment of cancer.
Teletherapy has been defined as “the application of telecommunications technology to the delivery of professional services at a distance by linking clinician to client, or clinician to clinician, for assessment, intervention, and/or consultation.” In a nut shell, it’s an online therapy.
Travelling to the office for therapy is often difficult and it takes more time and for people, it is not possible. But with the modern technology, it is possible that the clinicians can connect to the clients no matter where they live.
How does it work?
It is the most frequently used radiotherapy used in cancer treatment and it is normally given by the cobalt unit. It delivers high energy gamma rays or a linear accelerator which can deliver high energy x-rays or electrons. In the most ordinary scheme treatment is given daily for a period of 4-8 weeks.
To convey even a dose of radiation to the target which may be several centimeters thick, the radiation source is placed at a distance from the patient (80-150cm). Healthy tissue including skin in the path of the beam can also be irradiated and exposed. To lessen this effect, higher energy is used for profound tumors. The treatment is delivered from the different angles which maximize the dose at the intersection.
Benefits of teletherapy:
- Teletherapy removes transportation concerns.
- A good option for the remote areas.
- Affordable and convenient.
- Removes the cost of the gas.
- Eliminates the hassle.
- For the medically fragile patients.
- Helps the children generalize their goals.
- Helps parents apply goals to their everyday life.
- Always on schedule.
- Provides a patient in their treatment.
- Information becomes more accessible.
- Gives the patient to take control of their own progress.
- More comfortable for the parents and children.
- Gives and depicts the scene view of the therapy process.
- Permits the whole family to be involved.
Drawbacks of teletherapy:
- Some of the insurance companies will not cover e-therapy.
- Online therapy cannot respond to the crisis situation.
- It is not suitable for the patients with the serious condition.
- Sometimes there is a lack of important information.
- Ethical and legal concerns pose potential problems.
Modern teletherapy techniques:
3D con-formal radiotherapy technique, intensity modulated radiotherapy and image-guided radiotherapy acquires right and exact shaping of the target. It receives the prescribed dose of radiation.
These techniques allow radiotherapy to convey the lower dose of radiation to healthy tissues and a higher dose to a tumor.
Patient receiving radiotherapy feel no physical sensation when exposed to radiation. It resembles very much with having x-rays. Besides that, there are side effects. In rapidly dividing tissues such as mucosa and skin, early reaction is similar to sunburn. In moderately dividing cells to those in the kidney or vasculature that assist the brain and spinal cord, the tolerance to radiation is low.
If it’s being treated above a certain threshold, the patients are at the risk of developing effects that appear at a later time in life.
Modern technology allows sparing of vital organs. Another important tool is radio-biological research that helps to select the best treatment schemes.
Duckworth said, the uptake for teletherapy is slow right now, but he believes it will quickly speed up as people become more familiar with the benefits, and as insurance companies begin paying for it.
“I think this is a cultural evolution and I think it’s going to take some time,” he said.
It is one of the most important tech development for the mental health. With the passage of time, the society becomes more evolved about the role of mental health care. The demand of the therapists will be increasing. However, the number of these providers isn’t growing to meet the demand of the patients.
The greatest benefit of this therapy is that you don’t need to travel and you can have a session from wherever you are.
Stay tuned for more updates!