If you have been diagnosed with cancer, one of the treatments your doctor may recommend is radiation therapy. Radiation therapy has been used to treat cancer for many years, and it has been continually improved to make it more effective. However, there are still some myths floating around about radiation therapy. You deserve to know the truth so you can make informed, knowledgeable decisions about your cancer treatment.

Myth: Radiation and chemotherapy are the same things.

Radiation treatment and chemotherapy have long been the two most common cancer treatments other than surgery. Perhaps this is why so many people get them confused and even assume they are the same thing. They are not. Radiation therapy involves the use of radioactive substances—those that release radiation—to kill cancer cells. It is only delivered to the part of the body that needs treatment. For instance, if you have thyroid cancer, then the radiation would be delivered to your thyroid gland. Chemotherapy drugs are taken orally or given via an IV, and they treat the whole body, helping to kill cancer cells throughout the body.

Myth: After radiation, you have to stay away from others.

Many patients believe that after radiation, they need to stay away from friends and loved ones, or else they will pass the radioactivity on to these people. This simply does not happen. The radiation administered is absorbed by your body's cells. You can hug, kiss, and share meals with your loved ones as soon as you get home.

Myth: Radiation treatment hurts.

Most patients feel nothing at all while they are getting radiation treatment. There are often unpleasant side effects to follow, such as sore throat, vomiting, and fatigue. However, the treatment itself is simple and painless for the patient.

Myth: Radiation therapy will make you lose your hair.

Hair loss is common with chemotherapy, but it's not typically a problem with radiation. You might lose some hair from the exact area that is treated. For instance, if you have radiation performed on a lymph node under your armpit, you might lose some hair from that area. But your whole head won't necessarily go bald because some other part of your body was treated.

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what radiation therapy really is and really involves. Talk to your doctor about any other worries or concerns you may have. Contact a treatment center for more information regarding cancer radiation treatment