Unlike chemotherapy, radiation therapy is considered a local treatment. Radiation therapy uses high energy particles or waves to treat cancer cells. Only cancer cells in the radiation field, the area where the radiation is delivered, are killed. If cancer cells exist outside the radiation field, the radiation does not impact them.
Radiation can be given alone or used with other treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy.
The radiation therapy team includes your radiation oncologist as well as physicists and dosimetrists who calculate precise dosages of radiation to ensure your therapy is tailored to your tumor.
Approximately half of all cancer patients undergo radiation therapy as part of their treatment. Radiation is usually the primary treatment for cancers of the head and neck, lung, bladder, and Hodgkin lymphoma. Radiation therapy is one facet of the overall treatment for cancers of the breast, prostate, colon, cervix, uterus, gallbladder, eye, and esophagus. Choose from one of the resources below to learn more about radiation therapy: