What is radiation therapy?
Radiation therapy uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells or shrink tumors. Your doctor may use radiation to try to cure cancer, prevent it from returning, or ease pain and other symptoms.
How is radiation therapy used?
Radiation therapy may be the only treatment in your care plan, or it may be used in combination with other treatments. Your care plan might include radiation therapy to:
- Shrink a tumor before surgery.
- Target cancer cells during surgery through intraoperative radiation.
- Kill cancer cells that remain after surgery.
Types of radiation therapy
Your care team will recommend the best type of radiation therapy for you based on your cancer diagnosis, general health and other factors. Access a wide range of advanced radiation therapy treatments at ProHealth, including:
- External beam radiation – Uses a machine outside your body to precisely deliver high-energy rays to tumors.
- Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) – Includes an imaging test before each treatment so your team can make adjustments to hit each tumor more precisely.
- Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) – Aims beams of varying strength to deliver stronger doses of radiation to certain parts of a tumor, reducing damage to healthy tissue around the tumor.
- Radiosurgery – Uses a computer-controlled robotic arm to aim highly concentrated beams of radiation at tumors with pinpoint accuracy, decreasing damage to healthy tissue around tumors.
- Internal radiation therapy – Places a radioactive seed or other implant in a tumor or very close to it to deliver high doses of radiation to a small area.
- High-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy – Keeps the radioactive seed or implant in place for only a few minutes at a time.
- Low-dose-rate (LDR) brachytherapy – Keeps the radioactive seed or implant in place for a few days or permanently.
Personalized treatment plans
If radiation therapy is part of your cancer care, expect personalized treatment. Your radiation oncology team uses CT scans and high-tech software to create a custom treatment plan based on your anatomy and the exact location and shape of the tumor. That means your treatments will affect less healthy tissue.
Coping with side effects
Rely on ProHealth to help you manage side effects of radiation therapy and other cancer treatments. Learn about our cancer support and wellness services.