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  Radiation Therapy In Singapore | Advantages And Disadvantages

Radiotherapy in Singapore is among the most instrumental cancer treatments in the world. Radiation therapy uses beams of high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours by breaking down the cancer cell’s DNA.

Radiation therapy is commonly used to treat breast, lung, prostate, colon, head and neck cancers. Brachytherapy, a type of radiation therapy in Singapore, is included in the treatment programmes for cervical, vaginal, rectal, eye, and brain cancer.

Although radiotherapy is highly effective in eliminating cancer cells and growth, it still has pros and cons like any other medical treatment.

Radiation Therapy In Singapore: Advantages And Disadvantages

There are many cancer treatments available other than radiation therapy. Surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted drug therapy, and bone marrow transplant are only some cancer treatments.

A cancer treatment programme usually consists of one cancer treatment or a combination of several cancer treatments. Cancer treatment programmes are on a case to case basis. Your radiation oncologist in Singaporedoesn’t just choose whatever cancer treatment because they are in the mood to.

Generally, doctors consider significant factors, including your type of cancer and its severity, overall health condition, and your wishes.

Concerning personal wishes, patients usually consider several factors and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the radiotherapy before giving a go signal to their radiation doctor in Singapore to proceed with the therapy.

Here are the pros and cons of radiation therapy in Singapore:

ADVANTAGE: Controls tumour growth

Radiation therapy in Singaporeis a popular treatment for cancers involving tumours.

A Mount Elizabeth radiation doctorconducts external and internal radiation therapy to shrink the cancerous tumour before surgery.

Once the tumour has been removed through surgery, some cancer treatment programmes continue with brachytherapy to kill the remaining cancer cells in the cancer site and prevent them from recurring.

DISADVANTAGE: Inability to entirely kill cancer and tumour cells

As mentioned earlier, cancer treatment programmes may include several cancer treatments as one method alone can’t eradicate tumours and cancer cells. It is the case for radiation therapy.

Radiation therapy in Singapore cannot get rid of large tumours. Surgery is needed for the complete removal of a malignant tumour.

It may also be ineffective for tumour cells that have been undetected by imaging scans. Imaging scan results are vital for yourradiation oncologist in Singapore, particularly during radiation planning.

ADVANTAGE: Kills more cancer cells

Radiation therapy has great compatibility with other cancer treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy.

Why is it an advantage? Two or more cancer therapies kill more cancer cells than a single procedure alone, making the programme more effective. It is why many radiation doctors includeradiation therapy in Singapore as supplemental treatment in their programmes.

DISADVANTAGES: Damages healthy tissues


Subsequently, radiation therapy also damages healthy tissues nearby the treatment area besides killing cancer cells.

For example, if the patient is receiving radiation therapy for breast cancer, there is a high chance that the healthy tissues near the site, such as in the lungs, stomach, and neck, may be affected.

Affecting healthy tissues and organs may give side effects, such as weakness and fracture of the ribs, constipation, and bloating. However, some severe cases are rare.

It is also a possible reason why a radiation oncologist in Singapore sets a lifetime radiation dose limit for every body part.

ADVANTAGE: Organ protection

Surgical cancer treatment not only does require the removal of a tumour but also the removal of a part of the entire organ.

For example, mastectomy is the removal of the entire breast to prevent breast cancer, whilst radical trachelectomy is the removal of the cervix and upper part of the vagina.

Radiation therapy in Singapore does not need to remove organs. However, it may need to place foreign objects in the body.

Brachytherapy is internal radiation therapy where your Mount Elizabeth radiation doctor implants a radioactive material, such as a wire, seed, or pellet, inside the body near the cancer site.

Brachytherapy can be permanent, or the radioactive material is left inside the body for good: and temporary, where the radioactive material is taken out of the body after a few hours, days, weeks, or months.

Yourradiation doctor in Singaporeconsiders several factors before deciding between permanent and temporary. This radiotherapy is safe since the radioactive material loses its radioactivity over time, eliminating its possible prolonged adverse effect.

DISADVANTAGE: Wound infection and poor wound healing

Radiation therapy in Singapore affects wound healing, especially after surgery for cancer.

Radiation therapy interferes with the process of wound healing by impairing cellular replication, tissue repair, and anti-inflammatory activity. Additionally, long-term tissue damage due to radiation therapy heals slower.

Chemotherapy can also aggravate this adverse effect as it suppresses the immune system.

All these factors contribute to the delayed healing of wounds. The downtime increases the risk of wound infection during the recovery from surgery.

Patients need to call their doctor if they see signs of infection, such as fever, pus in the wound or incision, foul smell coming from the incision, and skin redness near the affected site.


Radiation therapy as lone cancer treatment is painless.

The process of external radiation therapy uses a machine that emits radiation beams. The radiation doctor in Singaporewill then manipulate the device to target the particular area or the cancer site from the outside of the body.

On the other hand, in brachytherapy or internal radiation therapy, the radiation oncologist in Singapore implants radioactive material inside the body using applicators, needles, or catheters through a small incision.

It may or may not require anaesthetics and the process usually lasts 20 to 30 minutes. The patient can return to their typical routine after every session.

Depending on your doctor, radiation therapy is delivered two to five days a week.


Any medical treatment has pros and cons. But in the case of radiation therapy, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Don’t be discouraged by the side effects or the radiotherapy cost in Singapore.

After all, radiotherapy remains one of the most effective cancer treatments today.

Dr Johann Tang – Radiation Oncologist Singapore

Dr Johann Tang provides radiation therapy for cancers in Singapore. Visit Dr Johann Tang today.