Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapies


Radiation therapy

ionizing radiation disrupts cellular growth

Two types of ionizing radiation

  1. Electromagnetic rays
  2. Ionizing radiation


Cell types that undergo frequent division are affected by radiation:

  1. bone marrow
  2. lymph tissues
  3. epithelium of gi tract, hair cells and gonads


External Radiation

  • delivery methods depend on tumor depth


Types and Locations of Internal Radiation Therapy

  1. internal radiation implantation – brachytherapy, high dose to localized area
  2. radioisotope implantation – have a specific to half-life and are in the form of needles, seeds, beads, catheters

used in the :

  1. vagina
  2. abdomen
  3. pleura
  4. interstitial compartments – breast


Chemo Mucous membrane protection – avoid the following:

  1. ointments
  2. lotions
  3. powders


Chemotherapeutic agents:

  1. cell-cycle specific
  2. cell cycle non-specific


Two main Chemotherapy side effects

  1. Nausea
  2. Vomiting


Vomiting centers in brain stimulated by the following:

  1. chemo receptor trigger zone in medulla
  2. stimulation of peripheral autonomic pathways – GI tract and pharynx
  3. stimulation of vestibular pathways (inner ear imbalances, labyrinth input)
  4. cognitive stimulation – CNS disease, anticipatory nausea and vomiting



  1. Serotonin blockers
  2. Ondansetron
  3. Granisetron
  4. Dolasetron
  5. dopaminergic blks
  6. phenothiazines, sedatives, corticosteroids and histamines are used in combination

 Cardiotoxic and Renopathic Side effects

  • some chemo agents are cardiotoxic – monitor ejection fraction
  • renopathic – monitor urea, nitrogen, creatinine



  1. fluid and electrolytes
  2. infection
  3. bleeding

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