Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses precisely focused, high-energy beams to kill cancer cells. It is usually given from a machine outside the body (called external-beam radiation therapy), most often in the form of x-rays but sometimes as protons or other types of energy. Radiation therapy can also be delivered internally by placing radioactive material in the body near tumors (called brachytherapy).

How It’s Used

Radiation therapy can destroy tumors and/or prevent them from returning. It can be used by itself as the only treatment or in combination with surgery, chemotherapy, or both. Sometimes radiation is used to shrink a tumor before surgery (neoadjuvant therapy) or given after surgery to halt the growth of remaining cancer cells (adjuvant therapy). Radiation may also be combined with chemotherapy (chemoradiation) to destroy cancer cells.

In people with advanced cancer, radiation may be used to reduce suffering brought on by the disease. This may involve tumors that are causing pain or interfering with the ability to eat and drink..

Types of Radiation Therapy

Our doctors deliver radiation therapy in a variety of forms depending on the type of cancer, the location of the tumor, and whether it has spread.

External-beam radiation therapy is the most common form of the treatment. It is applied to the body by a machine, most often in the form of x-rays but sometimes as charged particles called protons or other types of energy.

Types of external-beam radiation therapy include image-guided radiation therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy, stereotactic body radiation therapy, hypofractionated radiation therapy, and proton therapy.