Quantitative Changes of Red Blood cells in Cancer Patients under Palliative Radiotherapy-A Retrospective Study
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Radiation can be defined as an emission of energy. Radiations like X-rays, gamma rays, and charged particles are used for cancer treatment. Radiation therapy inhibits the ability of the cancer cells to grow and divide, thus slowing their growth and killing them. Radiation therapy is given in curative or palliative intents. Palliative treatments are not intended to cure. They are given to the patients with advanced stage of cancers to reduce the symptoms and suffering caused by cancer. Exposure to ionizing radiation can cause changes in normal blood cell nature. Anemia is a common complication of myelosuppressive chemotherapy. These types of anemia are treated with repeated blood transfusions. The reduction in the leucocyte count is treated with Colony Stimulating Factors.
Materials and Methods
Thirty-two cancer positive patients who underwent palliative radiotherapy for five fractions were included in this study. Complete blood count reports were collected from the clinical lab. RBC count of the sample population was noted and compared before and after radiotherapy. Results were analyzed statistically.
Results of the comparison between the RBC counts before and after the first fraction of the radiotherapy showed that there was no significant change. As the fractions of radiotherapy increased the RBC count showed a significant reduction which was statistically also significant. Males showed an RBC count reduction after the completion of radiotherapy than the females.
In conclusion, a routine serial blood count determination during the entire course of palliative radiation showed a significant effect on RBC count. Though the advanced radiotherapy technologies were followed, the effect of radiation in the human body is still continuing at a lower level and insists the radiotherapist that a follow-up blood examinations is must for all the cancer patients who are under chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Palliative, Radiotherapy, RBC count, Anemia, Cancer.