May 30, 2013 10:32 am

Dr. Kris Gast~ Ask the Pros

Posted in: Ask the Pros


Q: How exactly does radiation work to kill cancer?

A: Highly precise planning is used when radiation is prescribed for cancer treatment. A machine called a linear accelerator is used to deliver radiation to the area that requires treatment. As radiation passes through the cancer and normal cells alike, the energy of the radiation causes changes in the cells.  These changes result in damage to the cell’s genetic material, the DNA.  The damage to the DNA causes the cancer cells to die.  Even though small amounts of normal tissue around the cancer cells also receive radiation, these normal cells are able to repair any resulting damage.  Often, the affected tissue will be replaced by scar tissue, formed in response to inflammation from tissue injury.  This response is the body’s way of healing injury.


Q: What are the signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer? Is there a screening to detect this cancer?

A: Thyroid cancer usually doesn’t cause any signs or symptoms until it has grown for quite a while.  At this time, noticeable signs can be a lump in your neck, a change in your voice, difficulty with swallowing, throat or neck pain, swollen glands in your neck, or a cough not related to a cold. No screening is available for thyroid cancer, but if you do develop any of these symptoms, consult your physician.  If a lump is found, your doctor will most likely order an ultrasound of your neck and possibly a blood test to measure the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone in your body.


Q: Can using antiperspirants or deodorants cause breast cancer?

A: If you search the internet, you can find many sites and articles that warn women that antiperspirants and deodorants can cause breast cancer.  However, researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) have reviewed all the scientific data and researched all the studies that have been performed.  The NCI has reported that they found no link between antiperspirants and deodorants and breast cancer. Therefore, another urban myth can be laid to rest, and we can all stay clean and smell good!



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