About Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is an effective way to treat many kinds of cancer in almost any part of the body. More than half of all cancer patients receive a form of radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, as part of their cancer treatment. For some patients, radiation is the only kind of treatment needed. Thousands of people are free of cancer after having radiation treatments alone or in combination with surgery, chemotherapy, or biological therapy.

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. Doctors treat patients with machines called linear accelerators that project high energy x-rays into the body (external beam radiation.)  These X-rays are shaped beams directed from multiple directions to target the cancer.   Another form of treatment is Brachytherapy.  This uses radioisotopes to deliver radiation directly into the cancer.

The type of radiation used will be selected by the radiation oncologist and will be the best choice for your specific type of cancer, the extent of your disease and its location. With careful planning, radiation can be sculpted so it is directed to the cancer and away from healthy tissue.